Stephen Cefalo


"The fine Art world is largely engaged in a relentless (and increasingly futile) pursuit of the new. In his Bio it notes that he worked as an assistant to Jeff Koons who arguably is also interested in combining Fine Art with pop-culture imagery but Mr. Cefalo's efforts could hardly be in sharper contrast. After that it says he worked as an illustrator for Rugrats consumer products, so he's very well acquainted with commercialism. He seems to have rejected both of these trajectories. At the same time he was studying under Steven Assael, a different kettle of fish altogether. His interest in Fine Art is historical rather than creating new paradigms, and his interest in illustration has less to do with commercialism than with drama and craftsmanship. He cooks all this up into an allegorical stew of personal narratives that are occasionally cryptic, sometimes troubling, sometimes sweet, but always rendered with loving skill.”- David Carmack Lewis

I was born in the hometown of Albrecht Dürer on the birthday of, Charles Le Brun, and Franz Von Stuck, so I already had my work cut out for me. My two sisters and I were raised in Newburgh, Indiana by a single mother who worked full-time at a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Evansville. I had trouble in school, but found comfort in drawing. My aunt Marilyn gave me oil painting lessons at twelve, and my mom bought me books on figure drawing and supplies when she found them.

During my undergraduate studies at the former Savannah Campus of the School of Visual Arts I found mentors in Jeff Markowsky and Anthony Palliser. When SVA Savannah closed its doors in 1997, I was already married with my first child, and moved to the main campus in New York. There I studied with one of my heroes, Steven Assael, and Max Ginsburg.

I continued to study privately with Assael while working in Soho as an assistant painter for Jeff Koons and later in Time Square as an in-house illustrator at Nickelodeon. An eyewitness of the September 11th attacks I decided to leave New York shortly after to continue
my painting studies in my home state, Indiana. I completed my graduate studies in Painting in 2004 at Indiana University in Bloomington. There I worked closely under Bonnie Sklarski, who also became a mentor figure to me.

After teaching for two years at the Art academy of Cincinnati, I accepted an offer for a three-year position as Artist in Residence for University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Painting program. My wife Amy who is a homebirth midwife, our six children, and I have assimilated well here, and we have decided to stay in Arkansas.