We’ve all heard the phrase, “money doesn’t buy happiness,” and though a stable income does provide the necessities (a roof over our head, food to eat, clothes for our families—the list goes on), reaching this level of comfort isn’t always enough. For artist Steven Walden, this realization was the catalyst that changed his life forever.
It’s possible you’ve seen Steven’s art around St. Louis. If so, you’d recognize his vibrant use of color and his ability to capture a moment sports history that just leap off the canvas with the intensity and emotion of the event. We picture artists with his level of talent taking the steps to painstakingly build their skills and perfect their craft over many years, slowly growing into a successful station as a full-time artist, but that’s what’s so surprising about Steven. He only just began painting a mere two years ago after picking up a paintbrush for the first time in 2014.
After college, Walden worked as a copywriter. He was successful and made a decent living, but over time, a feeling of malaise took hold. Looking around, he wondered if there wasn’t more to life than the regular nine to five. What was his grand motivation and primary reason to work? At the time, it all came down to money and maintaining his standard of living, and for Steven, that simply wasn’t good enough.
He found guidance from, Man’s Search for Meaning, a book written by Viktor E. Frankl, a neurologist and psychologist from Austria. Frankl was one of the few members of his family who survived the Holocaust, and his time at the concentration camp, Auschwitz, eventually lead to his becoming the founder of logotherapy. This form of existential analysis gave Steven Walden a mantra from which he based his decision to visit a therapist and ultimately quit his job as a copywriter.
“I can’t control my situation,” said Walden, “but I always have a choice how I respond to it.”
At his core, Steven found he needed to feel like he was helping people and making a difference to find true fulfillment in his life, prompting his enrollment in Webster University’s professional counseling program. It was during his time at Webster that he stumbled across his talent for painting in an art therapy elective. From here, the rest unfolds like pages in a well-written book.
Art can be a very self-serving activity, but he found a way to use his talents to reach his biggest goal—to help others. From first painting commissioned work for less than $200, Walden now works on pieces that can sell for as much as $8,000, with proceeds benefiting charities founded by prominent athletes such as Kurt Warner, Adam Wainwright, and Ozzy Smith.
His unique method of painting over canvas prints created from his original paintings allows Steven to re-create popular pieces over and over and paint at live sporting events in the area. While the St. Louis Blues were in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Steven was at every home game live-painting a portrait of one of the players. Proceeds from these portraits
went to Blues for Kids, a foundation dedicated to helping programs that improve health and wellness in St. Louis youth.
Steven’s success in the art world came to him early on, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. He’ll continue partnering with the St. Louis Blues for the 50th anniversary season and will be a part of this year’s Winter Classic between the Blues and the Blackhawks held at Busch Stadium. He’ll also be hitting the road to work with players from the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets. Plus, he’ll be traveling to various events for Wainwright’s Big League Impact organization.
Even with his already busy schedule, Steven is always open to commissioned work with most pieces starting at around $3,000. If you’re a fan of Steven’s work but can’t afford an original Walden, no worries! You can find high-quality post prints for a very affordable price on his website. Though writing may not seem like a good background for an artist, Steven’s career as a copywriter allowed him to use his marketing knowledge to better sell his art, and ultimately, help more people in the process.
To view more of Steven’s artwork or to contact him about a commissioned piece, please