Cultural Advice: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that the ARI Remix Project contains images, voices or names of deceased persons in websites, photographs, film, audio recordings or printed materials.




Steven Grainger

Micro Memoir (in lieu of BIO)

Steven was born in 1963.His ancestors were Irish and Scottish. He had no formal education after leaving school in grade 10, but certainly received quite an education. His first Australian forbear was sentenced to the penal colony as a political prisoner for resisting the English taking over the Irish farms. His great-grandfather died in the first world war and his grandfather died in the second world, aged just 22 shot down over France. His father served in Malaya and Vietnam and his experiences were not dissimilar to the madness portrayed in the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. Steven was born into a family severely affected by war and its aftermath. He turned to art as a way of making sense of this world, as nothing else could quite explain and offer a way out. Kafka, Beuys, Klee became Steven’s guiding lights. Formal schooling seemed irrelevant, all that mattered was the underground music of the time and Art. At 15, Steven was put in a juvenile detention centre for being an ‘uncontrollable child’ by the Queensland police, despite having committed no crime, nor being sentenced by a court, as this was within the powers of the Juvenile Aid Bureau at the time, who were not dissimilar to the infamous Task Force who targeted the underground youth culture of the time. Steven escaped from this facility and lived on the streets till his 16th birthday when he could not be forced back into the children’s home. He then entered deeper into the underworld of the Brisbane music scene and painting continuously. He acquired artbooks and studied art history and how modern art evolved out of the Renaissance, having a particular rapport with El Greco and Paul Klee. In 1981 Steven discovered the music of John Coltrane and Sun Ra. Through art, literature and the wilder side of jazz and the avante-garde, Steven began making sense of his world, unlike many peers from his time who died or went insane. Steven meet Eugene Carchesio in 1984 as they shared a deep love of wild music and art. They began playing music together and formed a band called the Closesthing (Paul can you insert a link here), i.e., the very closest thing or in other words the most intimate place. Eugene introduced Steven to Joseph Beuys and also the artist run contemporary art scene in Brisbane. Steven’s first show was a two-man show with Eugene Carchesio at That Gallery. Steven showed the paintings he had been doing since he was 15. Steven’s next show was a three-person show with Hollie and Eugene Carchesio called ‘Distillation’ and was held at John Mills National. After that Steven exhibited with Michael Milburn until Michael’s death. He also did performances at That Gallery, UQ and Bell Tower. Steven was interested in where images come from and how different periods of art find their inspiration in different ways. When painting intensively Steven found that fully formed paintings appeared in his mind upon waking, and pretty much just painted these images.. Steven believed and still believes that painting is the most profound and flexible visual medium, limited only by the imagination of the artist. Whilst many artists where exploring new and novel developments in video, computer and art theory, Steven preferred to paint the images that came to his mind as is. By 1990 Steven became dissatisfied with the ‘art world’ and decided to paint for his own pleasure. He then began to transform himself through an indepth study of Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, Philosophy and Mindfulness, to learn how to breath, walk, think and relate in a healthy way, and free himself still further from cultural conditioning. Steven is still contemplating if the ‘silence of Marcel Duchamp’ is indeed overestimated as claimed by Joseph Beuys.

Art Practice Keywords:



Artist Role Keywords:

Artist, Musician, Performance Artist

Collaboration/ Collaborator names Keywords:

The Closest Thing, The Holy Ghosts, Hollie, Eugene Carchesio



Various Private Collections