Born in Fairfax, VA, Steve Rands does not view himself as a traditional professional artist. To the contrary, he is a retired Naval Officer, helicopter pilot and veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though he does hold degrees in mechanical engineering, and human systems integration, his only formal training as an artist has been through a few classes at Anne Arundel Community College, and a course in marble carving in Pietrasanta, italy. These classes re-ignited a long-dormant passion for the arts that Steve hadn’t explored since high school. He currently resides in Mechanicsville, MD, and was a 2019 recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council’s Public Art project grant for his installation piece “Wind Cheer” at the Port of Leonardtown Winery in Leonardtown, MD, His piece, “MXY-7” was featured in the 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.
Art has been a part of my life since childhood. It emerged in an elementary school drawing competition, and was fostered through high school. Upon graduating, I explored various art schools, but was deterred by the prospect of incurring mountains of student debt while lacking a voice, and confidence, in myself.
Ultimately, the need to escape the nest to experience life on my own terms led me to enlist in the United States Navy. My career followed a wild and varied path over the next 25 years that included operating nuclear power plants, flying helicopters, training Iraqi military forces on an oil platform in the Arabian Gulf, and working with the Afghan National Police.
Now, having retired from the Navy, I am revisiting the road not taken to rediscover the artist in remission within me. I believe the experience I’ve gained over 5 wartime deployments now empowers that scared, young artist with confidence and something to say.
My pieces explore the emotional issues of Veterans in transition, while I explore realism, surrealism, and the abstract through different media.
For more information, visit his website.