Stephen Moreno – a.k.a. SteevCreeper – is a seasoned artist of many mediums. From paintings, to photography, to clothing, to skate and surfboards, his portfolio definitely isn’t short on variety. In the game for over 20 years, he’s a Texas native who has really dabbled in everything art. He’s spent several years with Black Flys & Backward Circle Bike Co. as their Art Director, among countless other projects, all while quietly developing his own unique style. His work focuses on cultural myths & legends, as well as contrasting good and evil by bringing incredible color to otherwise dark subjects, such as in his original painting Fire Begets Fire (seen below). Grimey Gatsby got the chance to have a little Q&A session with Stephen to dig a little deeper into his head and his art.
GG: When would you call “the start” to your art?
SM: The start I suppose would be watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. Ever since I was a kid I was continuously drawing. Superheroes, Disney characters, anything that I thought I could draw. It’s something I never really stopped doing. I’m sure my parents got some old kindergarten crayon sketches and whatnot. Ya know, older than old-school.
GG: Where are you located?
SM: I live in Orange County, California. Hotbed of punk rock, skaters, surfers, & cougars.
GG: What is your “style” or creative inspiration for your art?
SM: I suppose I’d have to say illustrative. Tho my techniques may change a bit from piece to piece, I have a love of clean lines and hard forms expressed. Although some of my ideas are better expressed with more flowing lines. That probably had a lot to do with my background as a freelance artist. Bouncing around from clothing brand to skate brand, or surf brand. Each company would have an idea of what their look was and although you wanna be out the box creative, you pick up sometimes on what the customer is looking for and throw in some work along those lines to get more work flowing. It’s always a journey for an artist to take each of the qualities he is proficient at and work out what will be his unique style. And being a production & graphic artist for almost twenty years I’ve had to fight the urge for everything to be über clean and press ready. Painting has really done that for me. Allowing me to find my path and I think the more I paint the more someone can see the body of work and recognize it as my own. And I still find inspiration from fine art, lowbrow art, typography, graphics, and sometimes music, weather, or the way an old building looks on the way to work.
GG: Where can we find your art?
SM: I’m a little spread out at the moment, I have pieces in two galleries in Santa Ana at the moment. GCS, and House of Designers, however that may change as this article is published. I also show at Find art gallery in Costa Mesa, with upcoming shows planned in San Clemente, Santa Ana, & (fingers crossed) Tokyo if I can pull another show out there. Anyone can see my work online though at www.SteevMoreno.com
GG: What would you call your title for Black Flys other than “curator of cool”?
SM: I keep saying that I’m gonna put “ArtMonkey” on my next business card. However my current title is Art Director. Truth be told if I listed everything I do that card might read, I.T., janitor, receptionist, counselor, social media director, advertising, entertainer… Oh yeah, and curator of cool.
GG: Any word of advice for the youth our there trying to come up in the game?
SM: Don’t take yourself too seriously, work hard at something you’re bad at, so after a bit of time you can be better at it, then maybe good at it. Then maybe you can ask money for it. Haha. I’m terrible at I spitting the next generation of artists. I’m still learning new stuff all the time but having a blast doing it. Just don’t give up and have fun.
GG: What should we watch from you and Black Flys?
SM: We been having a blast with some collaborations coming up with Sullen Clothing and the band Sublime. We’re also working some cool new materials together in the line with our unique look. Sunglasses sometimes take a year to develop, so all I can say is keep your eyes on the flys.
GG: Can we buy your art online anywhere?
GG: What music do you listen to when you paint?
SM: Holy crap, I listen to just about everything. Indie, punk, rock, ska, reggae, sometimes I’ll be listening to late night conspiracy talk radio, or some audiobooks I download. Music can keep the creativity flowing in different ways, and it’s good to mix up the vibes, even when working on the same piece. As it might create a new direction, or influence on the painting itself.
GG: What’s your favorite taco in SoCal?
SM: Wahoos Fish Taco, Aloha grill, (although not so cal, Jack in the Box 2 for 99¢) Haha, for all around great food I’ve never had anything I didn’t like from Wahoo’s. it is the So cal taco. Plus I’ve had a lot of great times with my friends who work and own the restaurants. Both in Cali and in Colorado! For a great kick back spot close to home the tacos and drinks on the patio at Aloha Grill in Costa Mesa can’t be beat. Plus the founders of Black Flys also are part owners in that spot, so can we say, “work related cocktails “
GG: Are you GGFam?
SM: I like what gatsby has going on. I suppose I could be the creepy uncle of the family.
After having been featured in art shows all around the world, including Japan, Colorado, and Mexico, Steev’s focusing on the home-front in Orange County for now, with galleries and shows
all over the SoCal area (like the Santa Ana Artwalk
– first Fridays until July 5th). As he said in the interview, he’s got his fingers crossed for another show in Japan, as the rest of his fans must as well. Stay tuned to Grimey Gatsby for the latest on Steev’s work and events.