DENVER–Switzerland Sculptor Alberto Giacometti once said, “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.” Steven Kuc says this quote describes his outlook as an artist because he consistently creates an intense reality in all of his artwork that makes patrons look twice to really feel and understand it.

Kuc’s Craft

Kuc has created various pieces of art from chalk murals of Spider-Man and Star Wars, to scenic acrylic paintings of hot air balloons.

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Steven Kuc’s “Star Wars” mural at the 2016 Denver Chalk Art Festival. Photo by Khaleel Herbert

“If I’m working for personal portfolio growth, I like to try different things as far as the topic is concerned,” Kuc says. “Different mediums, different approaches–trying to think outside of the box and grab people’s attention in unique ways that haven’t been done before. If it’s a commission piece, I go off what a client prefers. I have a variety of mediums that I practice so I can provide more options for them.”

Kuc always adds himself into every piece of art that he does, and explains how his art is professional.

“Each design I create has a little piece of my heart and soul attached to them,” Kuc says. “The process an artist goes through is quite intimate, similar to a singer/songwriter.

“The artist that doesn’t try is constantly disappointed and very negative compared to artists, like myself, that puts raw emotions into every brushstroke in hopes that you can make viewers look twice and lose themselves, even it’s briefly, because they can relate to the work or it’s nostalgic in some way. That is working as a professional,” Kuc continues.

Kuc lists his favorite artists that spark his own creativity. Drew Struzan, a famous movie poster artist, designed posters for the films “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones” and “Harlem Nights” just to name a few.

Mike Deodato is a comic book artist that draws superheroes including Spider-Man and the Avengers. Kuc also says Banksy is known for his innovative graffiti methods. “They are my top three that set the pace for creative efforts and professional outcome.”

Living the Dream

Kuc stayed true to his dream of being a professional artist while never trading in his pencils or paintbrushes.

“I had dreams of being an animator for Disney Studios or ‘The Simpsons,’ but as time went on, computer animation started taking over the industry and that’s not where my passion lies,” Kuc says. “I wanted to always be hands-on with a brush or a pencil and never allow a computer to dominate my craft.”

Kuc moved from Philadelphia to Colorado in 1993 when his father accepted a job transfer. Kuc’s father wanted his family to get out of Philadelphia and start fresh.

“What I love most about Colorado is that I met my wife here, both our kids are born here and Denver gave me the opportunity to launch Soldier Ink Design,” Kuc says.

Kuc has accomplished several art feats in Colorado. He launched his business, Soldier Ink Design, in 2012 and has worked at various events and with various companies including chalk art festivals in Denver and Centennial, Denver Comic Cons, the Aspen Snowmass Music Festival, 7 News and the Colorado Symphony. He has also done work for countless restaurants and business owners.

“The strangest design I have worked on was pretty recent, but made sense for the venue. I did a giant chalk illustration for Parry’s Pizzeria that was called, ‘The Big Ass Tap Takeover,’” says Kuc. “They had me illustrate a giant donkey measuring about 9’x 15’ out front of the restaurant. It was an event that catered over 120 different beers and I was the live entertainment.”

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“The strangest design I have worked on was pretty recent. I did a giant chalk illustration for Parry’s Pizzeria that was called, ‘The Big Ass Tap Takeover.'” —Steven Kuc. Photo Courtesy of Steven Kuc.

Kuc explained that his best piece that received much recognition was his portrait of actor Bill Murray made of string and nails. “It measures 31”x 48” and it is an acrylic painted background with string and nails as the main medium used to bring the design to life. I used over 1,800 nails and 600 yards worth of string in order to complete it.”

Patrons can view and purchase Kuc’s art on his website, www.soldierinkdesign.com. His acrylic on canvas pieces that are still on sale range from $300-$1,500 while his nail and string portraits of Bill Murray, Marilyn Monroe and The Joker range from $1,500-$2,500. Kuc says people can buy from his website or request to look at certain pieces in person.

While creating masterpieces for others, Kuc is also an art director for the Racines restaurant in Denver.

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Kuc with his string and nails portrait of Actor Bill Murray. Photo Courtesy of Steven Kuc

“I became the art director for Racines by chance,” Kuc says. “My wife introduced me to the restaurant years ago and I noticed the artwork changed every time we were there. I sought out the art director to show him samples of my work in hopes that they would showcase my work. Instead, the art director was stepping down from the position. He enjoyed my portfolio so much that I was given an on-the-spot interview with him and the owners. They hired me on to run the show.”

The Soldier of “Soldier Ink Design”

Soldier Ink Design is Kuc’s own business that not only provides art, but salutes a real soldier. “My 8-year-old son, Michael, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 3. Quite a difficult event for us to go through at the time,” Kuc says.

“So he is my soldier and I vowed to myself that I would create something so successful that one day I can hand it over to him for my family to reap the benefits of my hard work.

“‘Ink’ is to represent the art ink that I work with. It’s more catching than Inc. ‘Design’ is to establish a more professional title,” Kuc continues. “‘Soldier Ink’ has been confused in the past and if you do a Google search of that, you’ll see a variety of suggestions. However, if you Google search ‘Soldier Ink Design,’ it’s all me.”

Kuc’s Gift to Others

Kuc explained why he makes art for clients. “I wanted to take my passion as an artist and turn it into a legitimate business. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to provide one of a kind artwork to collectors and enthusiasts that are moved by my God-given talent.

“If [the collectors and enthusiasts] decide to invest in my work to add to their collection, then that’s all the more reason to continue my passion in all its forms that I create,” continues Kuc.

When people look at Kuc’s art, he wants them to feel a deep and personal touch from it.

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“There is nothing more satisfying than being able to provide one-of-a-kind artwork to collectors and enthusiasts that are moved by my God-given talent”-Steven Kuc. Photo Courtesy of Steven Kuc.

“What I want people to gain from this is the opportunity to lose themselves in my work because my work spoke to them on some type of personal level,” Kuc says. “I explain to people that if my art made you look twice, then I did my job as an artist.”

You can view and purchase Kuc’s art at www.soldierinkdesign.com.

This article was first published on The Metro Post-Telegraph.