Steven Bleicher: Relics of the Past

  • ©,



    Relics of the Past


Creation Year:



    Digital image with graphite and mixed media


    11 inches x 14 inches


Artist Statement:

    The underlying theme of my body of work is Americana. Currently, I’m using the subject matter of great old highways such as Route 66 and the Dixie Highway as a point of departure. So much of American life continues to revolve around our mobility, highways, and their effect on our lives. These themes are essential to my work. The central images in these works are a continuation from earlier work. They are a combination of graphite and digital elements, starting with photographs or sketches from the selected landscape or site. I then couple these images with maps and souvenirs or mementos from the local area. While many of the items have a kitsch quality to them, they are not meant to have a condescending tone, but are really celebrations of our uniquely American zeal for collecting and bringing back souvenirs from our travels and vacations. The items directly relate to the images and maps, adding additional components or layers of meaning to the work. The souvenir elements augment the images, giving a more complete sense of place. In addition, they provide an editorial or narrative component to the work and are also another means for viewers to engage the work. The pieces are displayed in shadowbox frames that are large enough to hold both the two- and three-dimensional elements in a confined and unified space.

    My work is about the persistence of memory. It is about our human need to capture and preserve a space in time, a fleeting moment. After any event, all that remains is the memory.

Technical Information:

    My work starts out with a digital photograph, which is transferred to my desktop computer. I work on the image in Photoshop, first adjusting the levels to create an even tonal range. I then add or subtract parts of the image as needed to develop the formal elements and composition. After I feel I have taken the image as far as I can in Photoshop, I rotate the image, flipping it horizontally to create a mirror image of the work. It’s then printed on a laser printer. The
    print is transferred to hot pressed watercolor paper using toluene. This is very dangerous and requires a carbon filter mask. I then work into the transferred image with graphite, redrawing and adjusting the values. The final step is the addition of the 30 element. It is framed in a specially constructed shadowbox frame.