Darius Steward (1984) is an American Artist known for his figurative works of symbolic imagery on paper and for his public outreach through multi-story murals. Steward’s masterful watercolors challenge the viewer to tackle current issues as well as confront their own pasts and shared experiences, symbolically and literally, across and against racial, economic and cultural lines. By extension, portraying his family, friends, neighbors and members of the community Steward affords us a glimpse into his personal history. He approaches a blank piece of paper with a clear vision, creating richly minimalist compositions through the use of stark negative space and saturated colors charging the viewer with personal connection and interpretation. Works by Steward are in the collections of The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cleveland Clinic Hospital, Metro Health Hospital, The Presidents Council and The University of Delaware. He was the Artist in Residence for Zygote Press in 2016 and was also awarded the Creative Workforce Fellowship during the same year. Steward was also recently awarded the 2018 Cleveland Arts Prize Emerging Artist Award.
Growing up in a rough neighborhood Steward learned the power of imagery and laments that life had little shock value left. With the events of 9/11 his perception of popular culture and current reality, specifically the intrinsic entertainment-based value of the media further evolved. In 11th grade at Cleveland School of the Arts he began exploring his voice and addressing social based issues and the impact of popular culture and the media. Steward completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at The Cleveland Institute of Art in 2008 with a concentration in Drawing and Painting and earned a Master of Fine Arts at The University of Delaware in 2010. He is currently serving as the Scholar Squad Manager at The Cleveland Museum of Art.