Steve Hanks was born into a military family in San Diego in 1949. His father was a highly decorated WWII Navy flyer. Hanks grew up playing tennis and surfing along the beaches of Southern California. “The ocean made a strong and lasting impression on me. It was good for the soul to be out in the water-surfing, swimming, or simply getting in touch with its mysterious power”.
Hanks calls his style ‘emotional realism’. He often leaves the faces of his figures obscured or turned away, not only to leave the face to the imagination of the viewer but also to allow the entire figure to express the emotion. Backlighting is also a signature element of his style. “Sunlight has become one of my favorite subjects. I’m fascinated by how it filters through things, how it floods a whole room with color. Often my paintings are really more about sunlight than anything else”.