Steve has an awesome imagination to accompany his towering ability as an artist. He was born and brought up in the town of London, Ontario in Canada. As a child his burning ambition was to become a fireman in later life, but his teachers realized that Steven was gifted with more than a little artistic ability. They nudged him in the right directions for this talent to blossom.
The young artist soon outgrew the limits of his teachers’ imaginations, and his artwork turned from the pretty but empty drawings of the average child to something altogether more creative. He delighted in creating what he describes as huge torture houses, filled with evil inventions. So keen was he on these imaginary instruments of nastiness that parents and teachers began to wonder if this strange boy really was ‘normal’, but like all children his odd passion soon passed, and his art developed in the usual ways.
His interest turned from drawing those weird objects to the picturing of childhood heroes such as the white ninja Storm Shadow from GI Joe. As he reached the end of his eighth year in high school, and was set to leave the Lord Nelson Public School, which he loved, his teacher Mr Webster declared him to be the student ‘most likely to be designing cereal boxes’. Steve indeed did work, for a time, as an illustrator for promotional items for kids, designing cups, placemats and other items – but never any breakfast products.
Search and recovery
To envision his panoramas, Steve imagines something awful, such as an aircraft crashing into a shopping center, and tries to picture how that look like if featured on a news program. After 9/11 everyone in America was glued to their TV sets for days, watching the horror unfold again and again, images that still haunt many to this day. This primal occurence brought a nation together. This sort of profound emotion is what Steven tries always to evoke with his creations.
Steve uses his own life experiences when creating new works, and he believes this makes it more real. As he says, inspiration comes from almost anywhere, and new work can be sparked off by a photograph or a song. Several of his works appeared as a direct result of events that were momentous in his own life, like the birth of his daughter. His works emerge as a result of everyday situations. Steve imagines the things he most fears and aims to project those feelings into the work that he produces – with great success.
Music also plays a large part in Steve’s creative process. He enjoys listening to bands like the Dropkick Murphys, the Black Keys, Keith Richards and Coldplay while working, in order to get into the right frame of mind.
Earth falls away
Steve has never worked on films though he hopes to do so one day. Steve says that his special favorite among all his amazing images is the one pictured here, “The Big Swallow”. He entered this image into the Photoshop User World Wide Photoshop Competition and won. It took first in its category, one of 11, and was the catalyst for even more fantastic creations.
There is no doubt whatever that Steve MacGhee is a major talent, and his visions of an apocalyptic future certainly take the breath away with their scope and detail. Let us all hope that the Mayans, and indeed Steve MacGhee’s brilliant imagination, do not really forecast the future.