Stephen O'Donnell



"I am the eldest son of parents who were born and raised in Portland. Most of my childhood was spent elsewhere, but I returned here in 1993 and two years later began my career as a professional artist.
I did not attend art school and am almost entirely self taught. My “education” in art came mostly as a adjunct to my interest in history and biography. Illustrations, paintings of places and people, first drew me in. My interest in painting and art history and design spread from there. But, being as retrograde in my tastes as I am, I have to say that my greatest artistic enjoyment and appreciation still lies with the great portrait painters of history. As an art form, the portrait, whether recording aristocracy or something much humbler, still completely fascinates me.
I – almost entirely – employ the self portrait as the basis for my work. By beginning with myself as the model, I have long felt that I am able to avoid the biggest limitation of the portrait as a form: that it is “about” someone specific. In my paintings, if the portrait is only of the artist then the viewer, while including whatever they might perceive of the artist, still has more opportunity to find their own narrative in whatever visual scenario I might present.
A play of gender is one of my most frequent devices; I’ve been referred to as the “man in a dress” artist. I prefer to leave it to the viewer to ponder the relative importance or unimportance of that particular ingredient. Honestly, I don’t even think about the political or psychological “decisions” I make in doing this; it’s just “what I do”. For me, the focus – and greatest enjoyment – is always in the designing of the historicist settings and costumes, and working to improve my painting technique and (very non-contemporary) pictorial skills.
I’ve been married since 2006 to writer Gigi Little. Along with several other artistic and literary projects, we perform together as a mother and daughter singing duo, Madeleine and Penny Prévert."


Artist CV below:




Artist Statements listed below:

 2015_ODonnell_95 15_AS.pdf

Press Releases and Articles listed below:



 2014 O'Donnell_SeattleTimes_July.pdf
 2012 O'Donnell_SeattleTimes_June.pdf
 2011 O'Donnell WW_February.pdf

Additional Information:

Birthplace: Portland, Oregon