Artist, devoted husband and loving caregiver, English Bull Terrier and dog Lover alike, Brandon Steen is a unique person, a one of a kind, like none other. Born a week before Christmas, this man recalls vividly experiences throughout his 50 years of life as though they are being played by an old school movie reel from the back of the Capital Theatre with a seared brown edges and scorches in the film as the film counts in to the beginning of the movie.
Born in a small Ontario town on Lake Erie, he was brought to the big city as an infant and his love for the city of Toronto grew with him, never wavering and shining ever bright in his heart, mind and art. In many ways the city of Toronto raised him. Spending weekend days walking downtown streets in solitude with the city enveloping him whilst picking up a band t-shirt, a newly dropped album or his beloved art supplies. Taking in a film by city lights at night or picking up food from any number of restaurants having come from around the world to this great city sharing cuisines. Brandon often picking up greetings in a plethora of languages for restaurant staff and shop owners alike. It is all of these experiences that shaped Brandon Steen into the contemporary urban artist he is today.
A Toronto trained Graphic Designer, Brandon following the steps of the recently famed television program Mad Men joining the bustling, hip and cutting edge Toronto advertising world in the 90’s. Working as an art director on many big internationally known accounts for a couple of decades nurtured some of his creative ambition but long hours, relentless deadlines, lots of parties and beer cart Fridays eventually fizzled out that small creative light that dimly burned. He was successfully illustrating for North American magazines, advertising campaigns and small and large businesses when 9/11 hit and the world of illustration quickly slowed to a halt. For a time, Brandon took to building a successful business as The Dog Squad whereby he was internationally known for his dog training abilities specifically with the English Bull Terrier, his beloved breed. He often acquired acknowledgements and received phone calls from all over the world to inquire about his best practices with his beloved bullies.
Today, Brandon can be found in his home studio in Toronto working in solitude with his bull terriers Dolores and Fionny while listening to an impressive collection of music much purchased on his many downtown adventures in Toronto spanning over decades. On his easel at all times is a birch panel, sometimes 2 or 3 going at a time on other easels as he paints his beloved city, documenting history, giving back to the city. His love for the city is in each each brushstroke of paint to panel, a gesture of gratitude by Steen for the care and nurturing the city gave him while he grew into this man of 50 years.
He ebbs and flows throughout his day caring for his wife of nearly 30 years, who too shares a love for the city but has become disabled and chronically ill, now enjoying her home in the city as she is housebound. She too is an artist and writer working in her home studio looking over his studio roof as he calmly mixes and butters on paint to his panels. Brandon remarks regularly how comforting it feels that they both spend days in their studios creating and expressing themselves through their art. He currently is working on an impressive and ambitious series for which will debut in his 50th year of his life in 2021 at his represented Toronto downtown gallery, The Elaine Fleck Gallery. It appears much greatness is yet to come from Brandon Steen as he steps peacefully into the next 50 years in his life. One thing is for certain he will continue his life path from his beloved home, the city of Toronto for his has much history to document through his paintings.