Stephen Kenneth Hackley is a native of Des Moines, Iowa who moved to Texas at the age of 4. In the mid-80’s he partnered up with friends to build a successful apparel merchandising company. It was a creative outlet for him in many ways but there were many other places yet to go and sights to see.
As with many artists, taking art classes in school was a beginning for Stephen but he did not immerse himself into his career as a painter until the mid-90's after becoming inspired by the work of renowned American subliminal artist Jim Warren. He came to know Warren in Clearwater, Florida where he watched him paint and magically turn thoughts into images using a technique, which intrigued him. They became fast friends and have since then collaborated on several of projects.
Stephen’s early works reflect Warren’s influence but a year later his trademark florals began to emerge and dominate his production. As Stephen’s passion grew he felt limited by the properties of standard manufactured oil paints. He concluded that in order to fully express his skills and achieve the desired effects he would have to mix some of his own paints from raw pigment. This was another challenge in itself but it resulted in a wider prism and range of opacity that is captured in his art, factually becoming his signature.
He earned his title of THE Flower Painter from a Dallas curator who proclaimed Stephen as the best in the blossom genre after looking through a collection of his paintings. The name stuck and later appeared in a magazine article. It was a clear distinction. Stephen’s work is a textile of vibrant color, energy and subtle organic textures. There is no escaping his over-sized floral renditions animated with sunlight that brightens the brights and deepens the contrasts. Shades and highlights collide and the result is an energy quite unlike other flower portraits you may have seen.
He enjoys painting at shows, mesmerizing crowds with vigorous sweeping brush strokes, quickly establishing the flow of images as he answers questions. And then he goes to work on the detail. You can almost smell the fragrance as color, lighting, technique and focus converge.
Collectors of Stephen’s art inhabit a wide range of settings from corporate offices to traditional and contemporary homes. On several occasions he has done commissioned artwork to fill “that one particular space” for a patron. Studying the changing light of a room, the ambiance and the personalities involved poses an intriguing challenge to the artist and Stephen has delivered on cue.
Present and Future
Stephen’s new challenges go beyond florals. Horses have long fascinated him. Their imposing physical presence, symbolism and history have inspired a new wave of works that includes “Elemental Ascension,” a metaphorical depiction of the Four Elements from Greek mythology, seen as horses crossing a plane and “Fire and Ice,” where three blazing stallions explode through an ice cavern. His current project is “The Coming of Spring,” where a colt made up entirely of blossoms triumphantly emerges from a somber wintry setting. This is the artist’s first in a series of paintings based on the seasons and will be unveiled in Spring 2014.