A Pennsylvania native residing on the North Shore of Oahu since 2008, STEVEN KEAN is an artist working primarily in the woodcut method of relief printmaking. Woodcut is a technique where the artist carves into a block of wood, leaving raised areas to receive ink. The inked block is then printed on paper. Kean’s work is an extensive collection of wave studies utilizing this technique. It is driven by a passion for the process and a love affair with the ocean. The woodcut prints render what may have only previously been an abstract feeling for an ocean-minded person. ‘I hope to elicit a reaction in those who have felt that symbiotic connection with the ocean, and at the same time provide access to those who maybe have not had that experience.’
‘The process of carving wood evokes emotions that are similar to those experienced when riding a wave. I enter a soothing, therapeutic, almost meditative state when driving a gouge through the block. The sensation of carving a smooth line is similar to the feeling of sliding on the surface of a wave. In each activity, I’m harnessing a certain energy. I seek to challenge myself in conveying this parallel to the viewer through the repetition of crisp line work and elegant mark making. It is an exploration into the dichotomy of stillness verses movement.’
Kean holds a B.S. in Art Education from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA and is a current member of the Honolulu Printmakers. He is an art instructor for the Hawaii State Art Museum and a working professional artist. His woodcut prints are installed in the Hokulea Lounge and Noe Restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort on Oahu. Kean was the recipient of the Tori Richard Purchase Award at the 89th Annual Honolulu Printmakers Exhibition and was also selected as the featured artist at the 2016 Haleiwa Arts Festival. His work has been showcased domestically and internationally. He was invited by FLUX Hawaii Magazine to exhibit in Sydney, Australia in 2017 and followed it up with two Hawaii-themed art shows in Japan. One of the highlights of Kean’s career took place on the North Shore of Oahu when he was commissioned to create the artwork for the prestigious 2017 Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. In January 2019, he was selected by the Hawaii State Art Museum Gallery Shop to showcase a collection of work in their ‘Winter Swell’ Art Show. He returned to Japan in the summer to participate in several more art events and shortly after his work was noted as one of the ‘Wests Most Collectable Crafts’ in the 2019 Sept/Oct issue of Sunset Magazine. Over the years, Kean has been commissioned by a variety of companies to create woodblock prints in his signature style. Most recently, he collaborated with the footwear company Olukai in designing a premium leather sandal - ‘Honoli’i’. He created a detailed woodcut illustrating Honoli’I’s perfect waves on the Big Island which was depicted on the footbed of the limited edition sandal. Kean is continually seeking creative growth as a working professional artist in Hawaii and is always on the lookout for new sources of inspiration in the islands.