Curriculum Vitae

ALEXEY STEELE, born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1967, began his art training at an early age in the studio of his father, Leonid Steele, an important Soviet artist and the renowned Ukrainian painter of Russian Academic Tradition of the Socialist Realism School.  He furthered his professional education at the prestigious Surikov Art Institute of the Soviet Academy of Arts in Moscow.  Steele moved to Los Angeles in 1990.

Steele is known for his large-scale figurative works in oil and on paper, psychological portrayals of common men of society, plein air landscapes and for employment of art as a tool of social action in the form of public art and art intervention.

Steele’s approach to figure is rooted in the Renaissance and Baroque periods seen through the prism of Russian Academic Tradition.  At the same time, his works possess a modern feel and intensity in their peculiar audacity of grand scale, grand themes and content driven formal expression.

Solving various problems in the development of his mammoth works, Steele employs largely forgotten Renaissance period processes.  He is known for creating full size drawings, referred to as “cartoons,” which attract attention in their own right.  His portraiture conveys empathy and expresses humanistic ideals by giving noble presence of royal portraits to a modern day common men and women from the rock bottom of society.  Steele executes his life-sized portraits in a series of live sessions often publically as a form of community outreach. In his landscapes and seascapes Steele examines formal qualities of movement and distance while in his figure works he is preoccupied with dimensional underpining of shapes.  The Russian Academic inspired approach to unity of dimension, tonality and color plays important role in Steele’s visual language.


Alexey Steele and his work is subject of numerous Art and Mass Media publications including “Fine Art Connoisseur”, “American Artist” featuring on its two covers, “American Arts Quarterly”, “Southwest Art”, “Gramophone” in London and of an in-depth profile on the front page of Arts and Books Section of The Los Angeles Times by the important cultural writer Scott Timberg.

Since 1991 Steele has participated in numerous exhibitions including at the Fleicher Museum of Art in Scottsdale, Arizona, in exhibitions at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art; Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University in Malibu; Natural History Museum of LA County, Pasadena Museum of California Art, The Autry National Center Museum, Phippen Museum in Prescott, Arizona; University of Arkansas Fine Arts Center in Fayetteville; at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles in Los Angeles, Cape Cod Museum of Art; he had his one man show “Outside Constraints” in Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, California.

Two of his unique and major mural commissions of large-scale original multi-figure compositions include The Circle, a 372-inch diameter, and the 272-inch diameter allegorical work, The Soul of the Hero.

Alexey Steele was commissioned by the City of Oxnard a master drawing “Quiet Steps of Approaching Thunder” for the permanent collection of the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, California.

At the tri-annual “On Location In Malibu” exhibition at Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University Alexey Steele’s work had a distinction of being featured on the main banner of the museum twice.

Since 2016 Alexey Steele’s artistic focus is his award-winning Love My Neighbor project, reflecting artist’s belief that it is the purpose and content of art that is driving and determining its esthetic form.  In this period Alexey Steele’s artistic expression became inexorably connected to his extensive art intervention work.

Selected shows featuring the work from Alexey Steele’s Love My Neighbor Project:

2024 –  “California Creative Corps. Alexey Steele: Love My Neighbor Project. Inspiring Neighbors – Remarkable Stories” African American Cultural Center of Long Beach, part of special programs celebrating Black History Month, February 2 -24

2023  – “John with Broken Arm. Love My Neighbor. Carson” Bowers Museum July 9 to September 10

2022 – “Rich Yamashita. Ichi – go, Ichi – ei. Love My Neighbor. Culver City” exhibited at the Bowers Museumas part of 111th Gold Medal Exhibition by California Art Club

2018  –  Works from Love My Neighbor Project “El Rey Trabajador”, “Mrs. O’Neal” and “Mr. Lipsey” were exhibited at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County as part of 107th Gold Medal Exhibition by California Art Club

2017 – “Ricky of Carson. Love My Neighbor. Carson” was placed on the title wall at the Autry Museum as part of the 106th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition of the California Art Club


In 2002 Steele’s larger-than-life statue “Angel of Unity”, was installed at the Comerica Bank Towers in downtown Los Angeles as part of A Community of Angeles Art Project in Los Angeles. Representing artist’s personal contemplation of the tragedy of 9/11 It was placed at the highly visible juncture of Downtown LA’s two major freeways 110 and 5 and was seen by estimated 30000 motorists a day for over two years.

In 2005 at the invitation of local developer Richard Rand Alexey Steele had moved his studio to The City of Carson, California to help revitalize the area.

In 2008 Alexey Steele launched the critically acclaimed immersive interdisciplinary Classical Underground project in the City of Carson as an experiment in what constitutes the true intent in art making and investigating the variety of ways art interacts within modern society.  The project had run for ten seasons until 2018 and left an indelible mark on the cultural life of Los Angeles County and wider Southern California.

The egalitarian nature of the Classical Underground project had proved breaking all barriers – language, cultural, geographic and economic – giving access to world level classical music performances and visual art to segments of audiences usually deemed unreachable to these art forms while addressing historic cultural inequities and barriers to world class art experience.  For the entire time of its active operation the project had turned Carson into a known classical music and art destination.  The project proved that it is staying true to the essential nature of art forms and not diluting them while delivering it in a compelling and authentic format  – is what resonates with audiences and sparks the die hard following.

Alexey Steele as an artist has a long-standing commitment to the marginalized communities as well as to portraying diversity.  Content and function of art within society play important part in Alexey’s views on art-making, relevant for our contemporary world.  Following in the tradition of his late father, an important soviet artist Leonid Steele Alexey is a proponent of art as an active tool of social action and community engagement in the form of public art and art outreach.  

Alexey Steele is a longtime advocate for greater role of art within contemporary society and of the special importance of the art of integrity to fulfill this role, urging active artists to work on combining artistic form, content and social application in their art.  Alexey Steele’s formulation and execution of his award-winning Love My Neighbor Project in the City of Carson was artist’s practical application of his views and theoretical position.

Upon founding his studio in The City of Carson, California in 2005, Steele began working on My Neighbor Series inspired by this one of statistically most diverse cities in the nation.  The concept of the series is to capture uniquely inspiring local heroes who command a special universal love and admiration even within most difficult neighborhoods.

As part of his series Alexey Steele was commissioned by the neighboring CSU Dominguez Hills a painting entitled “Learners of Dominguez: Howard, Jenika, Auburn, Chris, Ronald” to officially commemorate the 50th anniversary of the campuses, just like the whole city of Carson one of the most diverse in the nation. The work was hailed by the media as “Capturing the Soul of a Diverse Campus.”

In 2015-2018 Alexey Steele was awarded grants by The City of Carson Cultural Arts Commission as well as additional 2016 – 2018 grants by Wells Fargo Bank to continue his work on the “My Neighbor Series”.  

In 2016 Wells Fargo Bank participated in the project as the exhibiting partner.  At two public venues in the period of one month over 40,000 Carson residents visited the installations.

In 2016 after appreciable success of its initial stage and in close collaboration with Human Services department of The City of Carson, with his My Neighbor art series at the center, Steele conceptualized, formulated and built his public art project “Love My Neighbor” with the goal to introduce into our contemporary society a credible unifying message through compelling images and stories of the beloved and inspiring diverse neighbors who serve as unique binders of local community. 

The project was formulated as addressing and confronting the scope of historic inter-communal mistrusts with the goal to serve as a bridge in the inter-communal dialog and contributing to mitigating historic inequities of Carson’s difficult communities.

Starting in 2016 Alexey made the focus of his public art project the notorious “Scottsdale” neighborhood of Carson, one of the glaring examples of multi-generational urban policy failures, cultural and social inequities and chronic marginalization in contemporary America.  “Scottsdale”, Carson is one of LA County’s lowest quartile California Healthy Places Index (HPI) community.  It is considered the most difficult neighborhood in The City of Carson, regularly experiences tragic violence, endemically impoverished with its resident Scottsdale Piru gang sharing turf with number of other local gangs. Overall, Carson has 16 active gangs operating within its boundaries.

As Alexey Steele launched his project, the process of creating his portrayals on-site and in-situ in the series of live sessions open to public became a unique way of community engagement through art that never happened there before.  It opened the door into the community for the city and built the trust with the residents of this difficult, long- marginalized and neglected neighborhood, created the opportunity for continuous engagement in this notoriously hard to set foot in community.

In 2017 in collaboration with 501 (c) 3 non-profit Artward Initiative Alexey Steele founded the on-site non-profit Artward! Gallery “Scottsdale” to directly engage this most underserved community of Carson with Love My Neighbor public art project.

The project has delivered a measurable impact:

  • Alexey Steele and his Love My Neighbor public art project are credited by local activists and public officials for playing significant part in the community turnaround effort;
  • With his public art project Alexey Steele facilitated closer tactical cooperation on gang intervention between Carson Sheriff’s Department and “Scottsdale’s” security team;
  • Alexey Steele’s Love My Neighbor public art project is instrumental in bringing attention and affecting the city policy toward “Scottsdale” neighborhood of Carson;
  • The situation on the ground has improved to the point, that currently own permanent on-site security is no longer needed.

In 2018 the Artward Initiative non-profit was awarded the prestigious California Arts Council federally funded state grant to support its outreach work and maximizing the opportunities for community engagements opened up by Alexey Steele’s public art project in “Scottsdale”, Carson.  Alexey Steele served as lead artist on the project.

In 2018 in partnership with Bank of America  volunteer team  Alexey Steele conceptualized and launched in the city of Carson Love My Neighbor Day centered around outreach programs of Love My Neighbor public art project.

In 2019 the Artward Initiative was awarded a rare grant from Bank of America Foundation to continue and expand the Love My Neighbor project.  Alexey Steele served as lead artist of the project and developed, built and spearheded the partnership between Carson Sherriiff’s Department nationally recognized Gang Divertsion Team (GDT), Bank of America Better Money Habits community volunteer team and Artward Initiative to create Love My Neighbor GangOut Program.

In 2019 in an authoritative recognition of its real world impact Alexey Steele and his Love My Neighbor Art Intervention Project Project in Carson were selected as a 2019 California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) Building Community Award of Excellence recipient in the important and meaningful Social Equity category.

In 2020 Alexey Steele had been appointed by the City Council of Culver City where artist resides as the first Artist Laureate of Culver City with the broad mandate to help formulate this new to the city program for the future.

In 2020 – 2021 Alexey Steele worked closely with Culver City consultants on developing recommendations for 25 year cycle Culver City General Plan Update (GPU) for arts and culture where he was able to significantly contribute to final recommendations and points as well as to overall placement of arts within city’s long-term priorities.

In 2020 in response to the advant of the COVID-19 pandemic Alexey Steele and Artward Initiative had successfully pivoted their award-winning program to the needs of the community in midst of national emergency combining emergency food relief with emotional support of kids art to the elderly at risk, developing and executing Love My Neighbor: Beat COVID program which brought over 35000 lbs of emergency food deliveries to “Scottsdale’s” elderly residents in need and at risk.

In 2020 Alexey Steele have designed for Artward Initiative and served as lead artist of the Love My Neighbor 2 Prevail program responding to “Scottsdale” community needs of COVID-19 pandemic engaging the kids of “Scottsdale” during the lockdown to create within safety of their homes their art to be featured on emergency food deliveries.

In 2020 – 2021 Alexey Steele had led the “Scottsdale” community outreach to California Assemblymember Mike Gipson, 65th(formerly 48th) district, in an effort to change California’s outdated state legislation that demands unreasonably high quorum and effectively prohibits meaningful self-governance in “Scottsdale”, representing the key systemic inequity toward communities such as “Scottsdale” in the State of California.  As Representative Gipson put it: “It’s time to liberate “Scottsdale”.  Steele had collaborated with specialized legal team on crafting proposed wordage change in the legislation.  The effort is ongoing.

Throughout 2020 – 2021 Alexey Steele and his Artist Laureate tenure in Culver City was also not slowed down by the pandemic and the artist adopted his award-winning Love My Neighbor program with innovative remote live portrait sessions and live casts translating his pandemic experiences into a new body of work of the Love My Neighbor Series.

In May 2021 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic lock down and closure of all art institutions in collaboration with Helms Design Center in Culver City Alexey Steele helped develop the art light installation “Projecting Possibilities” and was the first artist to be featured in it.

Throughout 2020 – 2021 Alexey Steele have served on the Culver City Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) and on the Advisory Committee to Culver City Art Foundation.

Throughout 2020 – 2021 Alexey Steele designed and executed for Culver City the program, facilitating inclusion of children’s art, produced in the safety of their homes, and poems by seniors into Culver City’s emergency relief distribution program.

Throughout his Artist laureate tenure during the national emergency with his various initiatives and actions Alexey Steele was able to successfully advocate, highlight and demonstrate the arts as being not excessive additions, but an essential component to community life and its collective response to an emergency. 

In 2021 the Culver City City Council have extended Alexey Steele’s two year Artist Laureate tenure by one year till 2023.

In 2021 as community needs pivoted to recovery Alexey Steele and Artward Initiative have designed and Alexey Steele served as lead artist on the Love My Neighbor 2 Recover program, developing a kids art contest and exhibition to lift the spirits of “Scottsdale” community. The events were conducted in close coordination with The City of Carson and with Carson City Council issuing Certificates of Recognition to contest Award Winners and participating in all public events.

Accepting the health risks, Alexey Steele had personally conducted essential work of emergency deliveries and programs for the “Scottsdale” community throughout entire 2020 -2021 period.

For his food and art emergency relief work in the City of Carson throughout 2020 – 2021 Alexey Steele was recognized by the Carson City Council as a “2022 City of Carson Community Frontline Hero”.

In February 2022 within the first days of the tragic war in Ukraine Alexey Steele launched the website urging to emphasize the need for peace in Ukraine as well as in the rest of the world.

In March 2022 in collaboration with Helms Design Center, Alexey Steele initiated and produced the public art light installation “Projecting for Peace” with curated imagery from the collection of work by his late father, Leonid Steele, an important Ukrainian artist of the 50s, 60s and 70s, celebrated for his powerful and compelling depictions of the Ukrainian people and of the Ukrainian nation.

In May 2022 in response to the invasion of Ukraine Alexey Steele co-organized a benefit concert at the Frost Auditorium in Culver City which raised over $117,000 for emergency medical supplies for Ukraine people via Direct Relief non-profit.

In 2022 Alexey Steele have established collaboration between his Love My Neighbor Project and Los Angeles County program LA vs. Hate in preparation for United Against Hate Week.

In November 2022 Alexey Steele conceptualized, developed and conducted a series of Love My Neighbor – United Against Hate cross messaging events and pop-up shows commemorating United Against Hate Week and in collaboration with LA vs Hate

On November 13, 2022 Alexey Steele held a Love My Neighbor – United Against Hate live portrait event of the Fox Hills community icon Candance Pilgram-Simmons at the Wende Museum in collaboration with LA vs Hate.

In 2022 upon moving his studio from The City of Carson to Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach in 2018 Alexey Steele in collaboration with Artward Initiative non-profit and the office of Long Beach Councilmember for the 8th District, Al Austin II and in addition to the ongoing outreach in Carson, have expanded the award-wining Love My Neighbor Project  to “Carmelitos” community of Long Beach, the biggest housing complex of LA County.  The demographics and challenges there are very similar to neighboring “Scottsdale” community of Carson and the experiences and methods which were developed there answering the needs of this community.  Similarly to “Scottsdale”, Carson, the “Carmelitos” is one of LA County’s lowest quartile California Healthy Places Index (HPI) community

In January 2023 Alexey Steele have completed his extended three year tenure as the first Artist Laureate of Culver City and is credited with foundational impact on establishing an important city art program.  For his extensive work and accomplishments on this post Alexey Steele was awarded a commendation by the Culver City City Council.

In 2023 upon rigorous review process Alexey Steele have been selected as the first-year member of the pilot California State program California Creative Corps aimed at connecting artists to communities and increasing community impact of public art with the $75,000 combine personal and project grant by the California Arts Council for executing his winning proposal of creating a prototype for his newly developed Art Screen Panel TM innovative public art medium and expanding his award-winning Love My Neighbor Project to public art.  This is an important step in reaching artist’s goal of expanding his message, visual expression and theme to a large-scale public art at the time when he believes such unifying and inspiring community message is needed more than ever.


Alexey Steele is a 2009 winner of the prestigious Artemis Award in Athens, Greece “for celebrating the power and beauty of women through his art on a heroic scale in the modern world particularly in his multi-figure compositions “The Circle” and “The Soul of The Hero.”

In 2009, Alexey Steele received Gusi Peace Prize in the Philippines for his work on turning art into a tool of International Conflict Resolution and for his “Fire of Peace” composition.  As part of the award ceremonies Alexey Steele with the group of award-winners was received by the President of The Republic Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with presentation of the “Fire of Peace” artwork.

In 2019 in an authoritative recognition of its real world impact Alexey Steele and his Love My Neighbor Art Intervention Project in Carson were selected as a 2019 California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) Building Community Award of Excellence recipient in the important and meaningful Social Equity category.

Alexey Steele contributed to a notable book “Soviet Impressionism” by Dr. Vern Grosvenor Swanson sharing the stories of his father and his family, giving personal insights on the period and is widely quoted throughout the book. Alexey Steele and Leonid Steele are also given a credit for their contribution in the forward to the book by the author.

Alexey Steele is featured in “California Light. A Century of Landscapes” published by Rizzoli and in “Painting California. Seascapes and Beach Towns, Paintings by California Art Club” published by Rizzoli.

In 2023 Alexey Steele’s works from Love My Neighbor Series are prominently featured in the book “The Path of Drawing” by Patricia Watwood, published by M Studio

alexey steele

Mediums & Genres

Oil Painting

Figure, Portrait, Plein Air Landscape

Works on Paper

Portrait, Figure

Public Art

Sculpture, Installation

Art as Social Action

Art Interventions, Social Experiments, Identity and Branding