Featured Artist


Stephen Von Mason

United States
Grand Prize Award Recipient
Purchase Award Recipient
Stephen Von Mason
Sample Work
No exhibits found.

I currently live in Vallejo, California the greater San Francisco Bay Area where my home and studio is. I paint in oils on large six foot canvases mixed in with some smaller ones. I showcase and celebrate my culture with an edge because of the need for a Cultural Healing. This is something I am very passionate about and I put my heart and soul into each and every painting to express my vision. I have so much respect for art history so as I come through it sometimes I also want to be a continuum of it that is always connected to it as I push my ideas. I am currently a widower, retired Art Teacher and practicing artist.

Artist Statement

I'm striving to make art that creates a response and evokes a challenge that is desperately needed. My stylized work revolves around showcasing excellence and promoting a cultural healing. There is a constant push for love and rebuilding in my work because of past mishappenings and an un-natural current setting. My imagery has intense color and a sense of emergency indicative of what is needed for rebuilding a cultural lobotomy. My figurative paintings attempt to push specific scenarios through subject matter that is provocative and sometimes uncomfortable. The act of painting for me is about problem solving, showcasing, story telling, and beauty. Equity and equality is a very important component in my community so I am always speaking to these elements and dynamic.

I have a strong connection with sculpture, architecture and structural engineering as much as I am connected to painters like Kerry James Marshall, Oliver Lee Jackson and Sandro Chia. Because I am an untold story teller and history painter, there is a strong need to produce paintings that reflect my passion. This will always be the case because it is what moves me. Like in the film “Sankofa” it is imperative that I continue to pursue my purpose because the ancestors need to know that I am continuing this mission.

I was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1954. As a child I loved to draw and paint rodeo riders and football stars which carried over into High School. Even as a young man I knew I always wanted to be a professional artist so at the end High School I was accepted into John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis where I received a BFA in printmaking. I understood that I probably needed more education so I applied to the San Francisco Institute of Art and was accepted with a scholarship. The Art Institute was a wonderful place to go to school because the had the best visiting artist program ever. I attended the institute from 1977 to 1979 and we had incredible visiting artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, David Hockney and Merce Cunningham all at the same time. We also had a very famous teacher there teaching women studies named Angela Davis. This was all so very impactful for me and it helped mold me into the artist I am today.

While still living in San Francisco, I graduated from the SF Art Institute with an MFA major in printmaking and I minored in painting. When I got out of grad school I didn't want to print anymore so I started painting immediately because it was so much more direct than pulling prints to make etchings. It was exciting times in the 1980's and I started on my journey of exhibiting, being published in news papers and magazines and I also have 3 children's books published. One is all my illustrations and the other two are collaboratives. My solo book is a folklore piece titled "Brother Anansi and the Cattle Ranch" from the Ashanti tribe of West Africa. As I continued exhibiting and traveling to Europe to exhibit in England I always maintained employment. I worked as an artisan in Museums and Galleries so that I had a steady stream of income.

Eventually I transitioned into education and became an eighth grade middle school art teacher until I retired 2 years ago. In 2012 I was invited by President Barack Obama to showcase my art department at the Presidents Committee of the Arts and Humanities headed up by Michelle Obama. This was quite the honor for me as I spoke right after the actress Alfre Woodard. I have always sort of had a three prong artistic existence as an artist, and artisan and an educator. All three professions kept me very busy my entire life and I enjoyed every bit of it. Another part of my career that I strive on is international competitions, I love to compete to give me some kind of gauge as to where I stand up in the world of art. Just recently I've been competing a lot and have received four awards to show for it. This gives me confidence to stay in the studio and continue painting to the best of my abilities.



1954                  Born:  South Bend, Indiana

1971 – 1972       Studied figure drawing at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN – college preparatory                     

1973 – 1977       Studied printmaking and painting at John Heron School of Art, BFA, Indianapolis, IN 

1977 –1979        Studied printmaking and painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, MFA, San Francisco, California 

1981 – 1983       Taught at the University of California, Berkeley, California with the ASUC division   

1991                    Lectured at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA and the Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA          

2012                    Received an invitation from President Barack Obama to present my Art Program’s success with Making Waves Academy to the

                             “President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities” at a Salon hosted by Pamela Joyner in San Francisco. Other presenters were,

                             Alfre Woodard, Theaster Gates, Louis Vuitton Family and Pixar.     




2023             Virtual Exhibition,  TeraVarna Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 

2014              In Search of Humanity, Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, Blue Mountain Lake, NY

1988              Without Sanctuary II, Judith Weintraub Gallery, Sacramento, CA Sanctuary, Pence Gallery, Davis, CA 




2024          Gallery 4% - Faces & Features-3, International Exhibition, Distinction Award Winner, San Francisco, California

2024          CollexArt - Ideas in Art, International Exhibition, Artist Profile Award Winner, Portland, Maine

2024          Barbagelata Contemporary Art Foundation - Spring Exhibition 2024, Barcelona, Spain

2024           TeraVarna Art Gallery - 7th Color, Honorable Mention Award Winner, Los Angeles, California

2024           Arteom Gallery - Broaden The Horizon, Krakow, Poland, Times Square Display, New York, City

2024           Marin Society of Artists Art Centre - Sculpture and Assemblage – An Exploration, San Raphael, California

2024           Omnibus Art Gallery - Figuration, International Juried Exhibition, Dresden, Germany

2024           SwaKarya Art Gallery - Live Art Showcase, Honorable Mention Award Winner, Malaysia, SouthEast, Asia

2024            Chinwe Russell Art Gallery - Living Artist Contemporary Art Auction, Featured Article, January Edition 2024 - Doncaster, England

2023            Cross Currents Gallery – Color, Shape, Space, International Juried Exhibition, 5th Place Award Winner, Wheeling, West Virginia

2023             Art Collide Art Gallery - Life, Death, Love, International Juried Art Exhibition, Notable Entry Distinction, New Delhi, India      

2023              The deYoung Museum Open 2023 Triennial, San Francisco, CA             

2023              Saint Frajou Museum of Painting - 9th International Art Resilience Fair 2023, Saint Frajou, France              

2023              TeraVarna Art Gallery, “Color” – Talent Award Winner, 5th International Juried Visual Arts Exhibition, Los Angeles, California

2023              HelvetArt Gallery, March 2023 – Merit Award Winner, International Juried Visual Arts Exhibition, Geneva, Switzerland               

2023              Camelback Gallery, 10th Artist Choice International Juried Visual Arts Exhibition, Bronze Award Winner, Scottsdale, Arizona

2023              Contemporary Art Gallery Online, 4th Annual BHM National Juried Visual Arts Exhibition, Silver Award Winner, Middleton, Delaware

2019              Venice Biennale, 58th International Art Exhibition, Biennale Project, Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale, Venice, Italy

2019              Coos Bay Museum of Art, 3rd Place Award Winner, “Expressions West”, Coos Bay, Oregon

2014              Color - Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, Brooklyn, NY
                      Figuratively Speaking - Agora Gallery, Chelsea New York, NY
                       #SeeMeTakeover Times Square, New York, NY

2013               Saatchi Screen - Saatchi Gallery. London, England

                       Angel Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art, New York, NY

                       Story of the Creative - See//Exhibition Space, Queens, New York, NY

                       Faith - San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis Gallery 85, San Jose, CA

1997                Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA

1993                 M. H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA

                         Rotterdam Art Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands

                         Stedelijk Museum of Schiedam, Rotterdam, Holland

                         Bomani Gallery, San Francisco, CA

                         Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento, CA

                         De Krackeling Museum, Amsterdam, Holland

1991                 Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA

                         Bomani Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1986                  Crocker Museum of Art, Sacrament

1985                   Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA “Introductions 85”

1984                   Cartwright Hall, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England

1983                   Zaner Gallery, Rochester, NY

1977                   Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
                           Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, IN



1992                  Eureka Fellowship Finalist, Fleishacker Foundation, nominated by Robert Flynn Johnson – Achenbach Collection – Palace of the Legion of Honor, San     Francisco, CA


                          California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Achenbach Collection of Works on Paper, San Francisco, CA

                          Rotterdam Art Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands

                          Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento, CA

                          Goldman Sachs, New York, NY

                          Fairmont Hotels, New Orleans, LA and Dallas, TX

                          Health America, Nashville, TN



Zieher, Andrea,  New Visionary Magazine, Volume 11, Featured Artist, New York City, NY, June 4th, 2024


Mazolli, Carlotta, Al-Tiba9 Contemporary Art, Artist Interview, Barcelona, Spain, March 19, 2024


Sinclair, Theresa, ArtisSpectrum Magazine – Volume 31, page 44,  Agora Gallery, NYC - May 2014


Ventitre01, Ventritre01-Roma Magazine – spring issue, published by Ventitre01 Art and Investments – Rome, Italy - 2014


Reeves, Ingrid, four color reproductions, Artist Portfolio Magazine – “San Francisco vs. Chicago”, Issue 16, page 42 – 45, spring - 2014


Osmond, Susan Fegley, “Feral Fusion”, Ten full page color reproductions, The Washington Post Magazine-The World & I - February, 1993, p. 208-217


Murphy, Anthony, “A Portfolio of Promising Futures”, color reproductions, American Visions Magazine, fall issue – 1992, p. 18 and cover

Baker, Elizabeth, “The Figure Identified”, Art in America, Annual Issue, 1992, p. 57


Brzezinski, Jamey, “Reassurance, The Figure Identified”, Art Week, October 17, 1991, p. cover


Dalkey, Victoria, “The New Black Art”, The Sacramento Bee – Encore Section, January 12, 1986, p. 16


Liss, Andrea, “Introductions 85”, Art News Magazine, October, 1985, p. 115


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