Steve Kestrel grew up in southern New Mexico at the interface of the high desert and Sacramento mountains. This edge of the Chihuahuan Desert is a land of contrasts, in its ecosystems and corresponding flora and fauna. The bones of the land are there for all to see and read, if motivated and curious enough. With his family, he raised and trained quarter horses and worked cattle on ranches up through his college years. Kestrel now resides with his wife, Cindi, on a 43-acre wildlife preserve in Colorado’s Redstone Canyon.
Of his Colorado home and studio, Kestrel says:
My studio in Redstone Canyon is a converted 3,400 sq. ft. barn (originally built in 1952 & added to in 1984) on which I have done very extensive remodeling. I now have it divided into working sections- stone carving room; welding & metal chasing room; mold & wax storage room; large 28’ x 40’ general work room; office, library / display room.
The land we live on is much like northern New Mexico- red sandstone cliffs reaching 150-200 feet high; two smaller canyons with permanent water, 1/2 mile of Redstone Creek with riparian vegetation & cottonwoods. On the hillsides grow juniper, ponderosa pine, mountain mahogany, chamisa, sage, squaw bush and many native grasses and wildflowers. I get many of the stones I carve out of the creek bed coming down from the washed out overburden, which have come down from ancient glaciers and upstream formations and deposits of granite, schist & gneiss.
We moved here because of the landscape and the wildlife. On a fairly regular basis we see deer, coyote, rabbits, raptors, bobcats, waterfowl, elk, snakes and occasionally, bear, mountain lion, raccoon and fox.
The studio is about 600 feet from the house, so it’s a nice walk under the cottonwoods and across the creek. We designed and built much of the house ourselves in 1994, so it fits our needs very well. We are 13 miles from Fort Collins or Loveland and we love the solace and solitude it provides- It has always nurtured and inspired us.
William Kerr, founder and trustee of the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA), stated that “Steve’s objects are a never-ending source of surprise to me.... He has the ability to see into the stone and envision a unique object that then, through his artistry, emerges. The intellectual and tactile come together seamlessly in his art.”
Education: Natural Sciences, Eastern New Mexico University; Natural Sciences & Sculpture, Colorado State University.
Awards & Honors: Prix de West Purchase Award, Prix de West Invitational, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK, 2013; Museum Purchase Award, Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio, TX, 2013; Gold Medal for Sculpture, The West Select, Phoenix Museum of Art, 2011, 2012, 2013; Featured Artist, 2011 & Best of Show, 2008 & 2005, Coors Western Art Exhibit, Denver, CO; Red Smith Award, 2008 & People's Choice Award, 2007, National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Selected Publications: Steve Kestrel, Letting Nature Lead, Southwest Art, January, 2011; Stone Carver Steve Kestrel: An American Master Takes Aim At The Essence of Things‚ and Steve Kestrel: Moving Past Dogma In Direct-Carving To Originality Wildlife Art Journal, 2010; Steve Kestrel, Colorado Sculptor, Sculptural Pursuit, October/Winter, 2009; Wildlife Art Gallery [thirty minute artist profile], Outdoor Channel 2 HD, 2006; Give & Take, Southwest Art, October 2006; The Erivan and Helga Haub Family Collection of Western Art; Steve Kestrel, Sculptor Profile, National Sculpture Society News Bulletin, 2006; Wildlife Art, July/August 2004; Rock and Soul, Todd Wilkinson, Southwest Art, July 2004.
Collections: National Museum of Wildlife Art; Denver Art Museum; Gilcrease Museum; Buffalo Bill Historical Center; Eiteljorg Museum; Wichita Art Museum; Woodson Art Museum; Booth Western Art Museum; Brookgreen Gardens; Leanin’ Tree Museum; Briscoe Western Art Museum; National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; National Western Stock Show Permanent Collection.
Representation: Gerald Peters Gallery; Simpson Gallagher Gallery; James Graham & Sons; Altamira Gallery; Claggett/Rey Gallery; Main Street Gallery; American Legacy Gallery; Grapevine Gallery, Oklahoma City, OK.