Steven Mairella is the son of a sign painter, and the grandson of Italian immigrants from the Calabria, Basilicata, and Campania regions of Italy. He grew up in Nutley, New Jersey and currently resides in Clifton, New Jersey.
Many of Steve’s paintings evidence and honor his interest in Italian and Italian-American culture and heritage. In addition, his portraits and pet portraits are noteworthy for capturing the character of his subjects, and along with his still life paintings and paintings from nature employ brilliant colors, sometimes dramatic lighting, and “incorporated abstractions” to create a sense of depth and dimension.
Steve is now a full-time artist, after many years of practicing law. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1979 and cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1983. At Brown University he was greatly influenced by a drawing course he took with Professor Richard Fishman. At that point in his life, however, his interest in art was placed on the “back burner”, for various reasons. He became a successful lawyer, specializing in real estate development and redevelopment matters in both New York and New Jersey. In many respects, Steve became the living embodiment of his Italian ancestors’ American Dream. And yet …
In the late 1990s, after many years of not painting at all, Steve rediscovered painting at what is now the Montclair Art Museum’s Yard School of Art, where he once again came under the influence of an enlightened teacher, this time the professional artist Roy Kinzer. Around the same time, he became very interested in genealogy. In 1999-2000 Steve was fortunate enough to be able to take a one year sabbatical from the practice of law to paint, and to pursue his interests in genealogy and his Italian heritage.
In 2016 Steve decided to retire from practicing law, and to “honor his gift” and “follow his bliss” by becoming a full-time painter and devoting more time and energy to cultivating and pursuing his interests in art, genealogy and cultural heritage. Those interests have merged in his body of work depicting Italian and Italian American themes.
Steve strives to capture and communicate something of the personality or character of the subject matter, in addition to just the visual image. Irrespective of subject matter, his objectives are to capture and convey its inherent beauty, to evoke memories, and to appeal and speak to the viewer intellectually, aesthetically, and spiritually.