Steve Gerow, artist and co-founder of The Creative Company, standing in his workshop surrounded by an array of tools, a motorcycle, and shelves filled with books and boxes

Meet Steve “StevO” Gerow

Steve Gerow is a self-taught Canadian Artist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario and is of Scottish, English and Irish descent. His need to create started at an early age, becoming his source of therapy and survival. Steve was welcomed into this world as a surprise to his mother who had him at the age of 45. From that moment on, he was faced with countless challenges. He struggled with having corrective surgery on his legs at the age of 10, leaving him in a body cast for 8 months.

Shortly after he was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. These issues mixed with an attention deficit disorder gave him an uphill battle all through school. Steve would draw, doodle and create to comfort himself, providing an outlet for his pain. This therapy carried with him throughout his teen and adult years providing that same comfort the passing of his parents, separations, and any hard times that have come his way.

Being creative saved his life

Over the past four decades Steve’s style has evolved to include a wide variety of artistic expressions beginning with his first sketch of Soul Boy, a skeletal figure that was representational of his childhood arthritis diagnosis. His doctor coloured in all the joints on his chart to show all the places his body was affected. At the age of 12 Steve began to draw his version of what he saw on his chart on everything…calling him Soul Boy.

Soul Boy was sketched and carved into his stonework, was a series of pastel work he did in the 90’s and early 2000’s and is even tattooed on Steve’s body. The unique rib cage from Soul Boy transitioned into Steve’s animal paintings in 2006 and is a distinguishing feature that sets his work apart. When you see that ribcage on his animal paintings you know it’s a Steve Gerow.

Steve’s paintings are heavily influenced by growing up in Northwestern Ontario surrounded by the beauty of the Great Lakes but are made up of multiple influences. When he was young, Steve picked up the 1970’s coffee table book of paintings by the legendary woodland artist Norval Morrisseau. He immediately connected with the bright colours and bold black lines of Norval’s work, learning that the bright colours are considered healing colours. This notion resonated with Steve as he was in need of healing. Steve’s paintings celebrate his fascination and love of the beauty of Northwestern Ontario, stained glass windows, shape and line work from 80’s advertising and the ribcage of his Soul Boy whenever he paints animals. His landscapes will take you on a visual journey using colour and movement to achieve shadow, light and harmony. Lastly Steve has transitioned his love of working on choppers and hot rods into his work, painting his first hot rod painting in the fall of 2020, titled – Hot Summer Night. This painting sparked a fire inside Steve allowing his inner car enthusiast to join forces with his love of putting paint to canvas.

Steve loves to layer his paint and will generally create shades of one colour at least three or more times using white or black to achieve multiple variations of the base colour. This technique is repeated throughout his work. Layering colours one layer into the next, pushing the paint, and focusing on staying within shapes and lines quiets his mind providing a meditational and therapeutic experience, one that he would not be able to live without.

Aside from painting Steve also dabbles in stone carving, some of his custom shift knobs and sculptures have been purchased globally. He also enjoys pen and ink drawings and looks forward to working with and learning the art of ceramics and mold making. A dream of Steve’s is to see his animals transformed into pottery. He currently creates out of his studio that he co-owns with his business partner and fellow artist Deena Kruger. Together they own The Creative, where they inspire people of all ages to find their inner artists and use creativity as a form of healing and self care.

When he’s not at his studio you can find Steve chilling with his dogs, working in the garage with buddies or out enjoying nature.

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