Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1954, clay artist Steven Sylvester was mesmerized by the city's public art at an early age. Sylvester recalls feeling excited about going downtown for any reason that would take the family car past several prominently displayed pieces of large-scale outdoor public art. As an adult, Sylvester pursues clay art as a profession, and he is grateful that his parents enjoyed an appreciation of the visual arts. They exposed him to museum and public art throughout his childhood and teens. Sylvester states that he has always held museum space to be sacred grounds for nurturing the spirit and the mind, and that pubic art has the same effect, only on a broader audience.
Still proudly in possession of the first clay item that he made, he occasionally includes it in Show & Tell type discussions. It is a small hand-crafted whale on waves with blue colored glaze, made at age 8.
Driven by an appreciation for uncommon uses of materials, clay artist Sylvester continues to create exceptional, noteworthy work. His current work-in-progress series of life-size ladies dresses made from clay and wire continues to amplify this drive as it develops into the traveling museum show for which it is slated. Also, Sylvester became a member of Architectural Ceramic artist Peter King's StoneHaus Team. By the side of world-renowned artist Peter King, Sylvester worked on numerous public and privately commissioned clay art projects, thus further feeding the drive for uncommon material use in addition to large-scale public works.
Having spent most of his young adult life working in various social work and case management positions, Sylvester has developed a repertoire of skills that serve him well in his career as a clay artist. He delights in networking and initiating mutually beneficial working relationships. Sylvester takes the lead in creating and implementing clay art projects that involve and address community needs. His artistic and therapeutic classroom projects have an emphasis on interpersonal relationship skills development. He is a master at leading his students through his step by step process that ends with exceptional results, both clay, and social skills development.
In contrast to many artists, Sylvester embraces the business skills required for success as taught to him by Artist as Entrepreneur Institute. He frequently shares his business knowledge and enthusiasm with fellow artists. He attends workshops to further not only his craft as a clay artist but participates in workshops dealing with the professional growth and development of an artist's career. Sylvester is one of the crowd favorites when he speaks, as a faculty member, at the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
With participation in numerous art exhibits, several television appearances, teaching experiences, both independently and through ArtServe, Coral Springs Museum of Art, along with an apprenticeship, several residencies, participation in fundraising charities and mentoring, Sylvester is, as an adult, employing his skills and talents pursuing what mesmerized him as a child.