Stephen Charles Shortridge, the artist, may be more familiar to you as an actor. For fifteen years, he has sold you such products as Mennen, Speedstick, Coke, Certs, and Head and Shoulders, to name just a few of the over fifty TV commercials he’s done. Theatrically he has starred as a series regular in “Welcome Back Kotter” as the southern sweathog ‘Beau’ and co-starred with Debbie Reynolds on the ABC show “Aloha Paradise.” In 1987, he was playing the role of David Reed as part of the original cast on the CBS daytime soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
After this role, Stephen set his priorities toward business and finally pursued his love of art. Stephen enjoyed acting but found painting much more creatively satisfying and explains, “the feeling of being totally free to create as an artist is exciting to me. In acting, a large part of the creative process had taken place by the time I was involved. The writer, director, and producer had already made many decisions about the character I would play. In contrast, painting gives me complete control. I may race along in a painting and have a disaster on my hands or something I’m proud of, but I make the choices and accept the consequences good or bad. That’s freedom; it’s precious and the most fulfilling part of being an artist to me.”
Born in Iowa, raised in Southern California, Stephen excelled in art throughout his schooling but had mainly studied commercial art. He took his first painting class while attending Idaho State University on a Water Polo Scholarship (Stephen was an All-American). Without formal training, the French Impressionists became his teacher, Monet, in particular.
Stephen preferred full colors and bold painting strokes; he was able to mold these elements into a unique and aggressive style. Amongst his collectors are celebrities Patty Duke, Donna Summer, and Rick Dees. While living in the LA area, Stephen exhibited with Peter Falk, another fellow, and accomplished artist. “As a final note, I do have great fun painting! I thank God for everything, the least of which is to be creative and to paraphrase a famous line from ‘Chariots of Fire,’ when I paint I feel His pleasure, this I certainly do.”
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