I graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1985. There I studied, among other things, photography, filmmaking and animation. A year after graduation I came to Arcata, California for an informal "artistic retreat" from the city. My goal was to complete the drawings for a new animated film. Three months turned into 18 months, and I just never went back to the midwest. The film, entitled Arcata Brain Closet, is nine minutes long. It won several awards at independent film festivals, and has been shown on television and in museums, including the MOMA in New York, and the DeYoung in San Francisco. For a while it was even available on home video, with a collection of other animated shorts from the same year(1988).
During the making of that film, I began to use rubber stamps. It was just a few at first, but then I needed more. It wasn't long before I was making my own stamps from my own drawings, either by eraser carving or sending the art out to a stamp maker. That got expensive so I began to sell some of my stamps on the side to "pay for my hobby". It was hard to sell them without a way to show them, so I made a catalog and... next thing you know I'm in business.
The style of my artwork is always evolving. My earlier designs had a lot of eraser carving and bold, graphic elements. My later work includes more fine detail. Also, I feel that my recent work is my most original. When I do people now, I base them on life drawings and photos that I take myself. In the past, most of my nudes were based on art books and photos. I still take inspiration from other artists, but now instead of re-doing it in my own hand, I try to learn about it, appreciate it, and let it add depth to my own creations.
~ Steven Vander Meer