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Steve Hanks

Although teachers often cited his artistic ability, Steve Hanks’ main interest while growing up around San Francisco was sports. As a young teenager, Hanks pursued surfing and tennis with passion. He eventually tired of a steady diet of competitive tennis, but continued to surf, finding a spiritual connection with the ocean. “Surfing had a strong influence on my paintings,” he says. “The ocean often appears in my work, because I have such strong feelings for it.”

Although it was apparent early on that he had talent, Hanks refused to do the required assignments in his high school art class and earned a grade of C in the class. “To prove I was good, I did a one-man show at the high school and sold my first painting to another art teacher,” he says.

After high school Hanks enrolled in summer session commercial art courses at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. “The only way I could convince my parents to let me go was to say I was going into commercial art,” he says. “I didn’t even know what that was!” He did well in his commercial art classes, but it was a life drawing class that captured his interest. He focused his energy on the study of anatomy and figure drawing and transferred into the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California. He graduated in the 1960s with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and then moved back to New Mexico in search of a home art gallery.

Initially, he drew in pencil and painted in oils. His paintings were impressionistic while his drawings were more realistic. Eventually, an allergic reaction to oils forced him to experiment with watercolors. Using the techniques learned from other mediums, he found he could create watercolors as “finished” as oils. Deeply affected by the emotions, shifting attitudes and music of the 1960s, the music of 60s icon Bob Dylan often accompanies Hanks as he paints in his studio today.

Steve Hanks’ paintings are much more than endearing images of women and children. Rather than conveying a specific message through his paintings, Hanks prefers to explore memories and emotions. “All art is an escape to somewhere you want to be or a feeling you want to have," Hanks says. "People see different things in my paintings because we all have different backgrounds and feelings.”

Art jurors began recognizing the quality of his work in 1973. Steve Hanks won the Arts for the Parks Marine Art Award of Excellence in 1990 and 1994, and has been one of the Arts for the Parks top 100 artists since 1989. In 1991, Steve Hanks received the National Watercolor Society Merit Award and the National Academy of Western Art awarded him the Gold Medal in 1992. Since 1993, he has been one of U.S. Art Magazine's top ten American artists. When the Pacific Rim show in Seattle, WA decided to open the show up to a wider variety of art in 1999, they selected Steve as Artist of the Year. Steve was one of five winners selected to the U.S. Art Hall of Fame 2000. He was named as one of the top 25 selling artists in the June, 2002 issue of Decor magazine. The 7th Annual Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children chose Steve as their Feature Artist in 2002.


In The Spotlight Of The Sun

Saddling Up

Baby Sitting

Hold On To Your Dreams

At The Edge Of So Many Tomorrows

On The Shadows Of The Past Runs The Future

Northwest Coastline

Angel Baby

The Journey Is The Goal

New Orleans:Celebrating Life, Death And The Pursuit Of Happiness

Holding The Family Together

Blowin´ In The Wind

Field Of Dreams

Where The Healing Begins

Sunshine After The Rain




Summer Rain

Gentle Tide

Baby Bath

Time Of Wonder

It´S All Downhill From Here


Reflecting On Indian Beach

In The Warm Savannah Sun

Catching The Rain

The Road Less Traveled

Hold Onto The Gate

Children On La Jolla Shores

Scenic View

Raising Daughters

The Sound Of Tiny Fingers

Young At Heart

Dancing On The Shore (1)

Beyond The Horizon


Waiting In The Rain

Moving On: The Art Of Steve Hanks

To Dance Before The Sea And Sky


Listening To The River

New Shoreline

Nature´S Touch

My Little Angel

Country Girls

A New Beginning

From A Higher Level

To See The World

Traveling At The Speed Of Life

Treasures On The Shore


Waiting On Halloween

Water Lilies In Bloom

We Are Bound Together

When Her Blue Eyes Close

When The Fog Rolls In

Where The Light Shines Brightest

Shelter For The Heart

Small Miracle

Streets Of New Orleans

Stringing The Children Along

Taking Their Time

The Cat´S Lair

The Daughter Of A Great Romance

The Gift Is In Her Presence

The Music Room

The Thinkers

A Hundred Years From Now

Angel At The Gate


Comforting The Heart


Count Your Blessings

Finding Yourself In The World

First Light

Getting Her Feet Wet

Good Times

Great Journey


Hold Onto Your Dreams


In The Eyes Of The Innocent

It´S His Time Now

Life Size

Like Diamonds In The Sun

Little Black Crow

Morning At Baker´S Beach

Music In The Heart

Musical Appreciation

Nature´S Beauty

On The Warm Side Of Winter

One Moment

One Step At A Time

Peeking Out

Places I Remember

Private Recital

Sharing Key Time

Thinking It Over