Clintel Steed American, b. 1977



Clintel Steed was raised in a devoutly Pentecostal Christian household in Salt Lake City, Utah. At an early age, Steed was heavily influenced by the church, both spiritually and socially. It was his mother’s interest in art and giving him a print of Leonardo’s “Last Supper” that inspired him to paint. When Steed was 17, his high school art teacher invited a painting professor from a local university to speak to the students. Steed was struck by what he heard, and purchased his first oil paints shortly after. He became fixated on the process of making a painting, sometimes cutting school for weeks at a time to stay home and paint. After a year, Steed produced an enormous body of work, for which he was awarded a partial scholarship to The Art Institute of Chicago.


After receiving his BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago and then his MFA from Indiana University in 2001, Steed drove to New York City with his easel tied to the top of his car and settled in Harlem, where he continued to take Advanced Studies at the New York Studio School under Graham Nickson. In Harlem, Steed's work focused on Harlem’s street scenes and architecture and his identity as a young African American man at the turn of the 21st century. From 2002 to 2006, Steed explored various themes in his work, sketching city scenes and creating paintings of news headlines by crushing pages and then painting them as landscapes. At this time, Steed also began to paint portraits, working to make his brush marks forceful and fluid and thus embodying a dramatic liquid state.


During his time at the New York Studio School, Steed moved to Red Hook, Brooklyn and was approached by Mark Borghi, who signed Steed to a contract for exclusive rights to his work. After finding representation with Mark Borghi, Steed has exhibited extensively throughout the country. He has received numerous awards including the Painting Award at the 181st Annual of the National Academy of Design in 2006, the John Koch Award at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015, and the Artcritical media prize in 2017. He was also the subject of “Mr. Clintel Steed and His Brother” a brief documentary film. Steed continues to live and work in New York City and is an instructor at the New York Studio School.