Artist's Statement

From the very beginning I always loved comic books: Batman, Swamp Thing, Uncle Scrooge...
Mad Magazine. I loved Mad! While a teenager, I discovered underground “comix.” These were independently published comic books that were written and drawn by artists who ignored the strict “Comics Code Authority” imposed by the Comics Magazine Association of America. This gave them complete artistic freedom to express themselves however they chose. I was truly amazed with what I saw. I then realized my destiny: I would become... an underground comic book artist!

My interest in printmaking began back in the mid-1980s when I studied art at the University of
Wisconsin Stevens Point. There in the graphics lab I fell in love with wood block printmaking, and have
pursued it ever since.

When I started my college art classes I tried to continue with my “cartoonist” goals, but my
teachers discouraged it. I signed up for a printmaking class, not knowing for certain why. My professor
observed my style and promptly handed me a piece of wood. “Here,” he said. “Draw on this.” He showed me how to carve and I was off. Twenty-some years later I’m still at it.

People have responded to these prints in a way that I hadn’t noticed with comic strips. It seems that when I draw the little pictures bigger, onto pieces of wood, carve them out, print them, sign and number them, and place them in frames, we have fine art! People take notice.

After moving to Madison in 1985 I enrolled in the Printing and Publishing program at Madison Area Technical Institute. I then found a job at an area print shop. I have been working in the printing industry ever since, while at the same time operating a fine art press from the basement studio of my house.

Presently I am pursuing an associates degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I have chosen this field because it offers lots of room for creative problem solving and focuses on helping people improve the quality of their lives.

-Steve Chappell


Steve Chappell, Artist