Artist Laureate - Alexey Steele

Artist Laureate.jpegCulver City Artist Laureate 2020-2022


As Culver City’s Artist Laureate, Alexey plans to advance his personal artistic development and use his art training and experiences with community programming to establish resources and programming that address the needs of the Culver City community.



Culver City Artist Laureate Alexey Steele at work in his studio, working on painting titled "El Rey Trabajador" in 2016

Alexey Steele is a visual artist with a background of the Russian representational school. Born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1967, he began art training at an early age in the studio of his father Leonid Steele, a renowned artist of the Socialist Realism School of the Soviet Union. Alexey attended the prestigious Surikov Art Institute of the Soviet Academy of Arts in Moscow, and studied under internationally acclaimed artist Illia Glazunov. He moved to Los Angeles in 1990 and has been a resident of Culver City since 2013, where he lives with his wife Olga and two sons who currently attend El Marino Language School. 

Photograph of commissioned public art installation by Alexey Steele titled "Angel of Unity" 2002, 120" h, mixed media

Mr. Steele is best known for his large-scale figurative works in oil and on paper, portraiture, and plein-air landscapes. His approach to figurative work is rooted in the Renaissance and Baroque periods seen through the prism of the Russian Academic Tradition, while simultaneously possessing a modern feel. He has also completed a number of large-scale private and public commissions. His 2002 larger-than-life statue “Angel of Unity” was installed at the Comerica Bank Towers in downtown Los Angeles for two years.

In 2008, Steele founded the critically acclaimed “Classical Underground,” a classical music and visual art project examining the experience of artistic integrity in the modern world. 

Alexey is a Signature Member of the California Art Club and has received international awards, including the Artemis Award in Athens, Greece and Gusi Peace Prize in the Philippines. His work is the subject of numerous publications and media including Fine Art Connoisseur, American Artist (two covers), American Arts Quarterly, Southwest Art, Gramophone, and of an in-depth profile on the front page of Arts and Books Section of the Los Angeles Times. He contributed to the book Soviet Impressionism by Vern Grosvenor Swanson and is featured in books, California Light. A Century of Landscapes and in Painting California. Seascapes and Beach Towns, Paintings by California Art Club both published by Rizzoli. Alexey has contributed to academic theoretical dialog about the role of art in contemporary society through his extensive participation in the influential The Representational Art Conference (TRAC) at TRAC 2012, TRAC 2014, and TRAC 2015.

Painting by Alexey Steele titled "El Rey Trabajador" 2016, oil on canvas, 72” x 48”Drawing by Alexey Steele titled "Mrs. O'Neal" 2015, sepia on paper, 29in x 22inPainting by artist Alexey Steele titled "Ricky of Carson" 2015, oil on canvas

Mr. Steele’s artwork has been featured and included in numerous exhibitions across the country. Locally his work has been exhibited at the Bowers Museum; The Autry Museum of the American West; the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine; the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History; the Pasadena Museum of California Art; the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels; and the Carnegie Art Museum in Oxnard, CA. Alexey credits his father for having a profound influence on not only his artwork, but on his artistic philosophy, believing in art’s purpose as an active tool of social action and community engagement. This has guided the development of his art projects and will guide his appointment as Culver City’s Artist Laureate.

Photograph of students working at easels in class taught by Culver City Artist Laureate Alexey Steele at his Artward! Gallery in Scottsdale, CA

“It has been my family’s tradition to view art not as a form of decoration, entertainment, or even
a business venture, but as an important instrument within society, and this is what I have
centered my artistic career around."

Alexey Steele, 2019

Since 2016, Alexey has been actively engaged in the Scottsdale neighborhood of Carson, where he founded the non-profit Artward! Gallery "Scottsdale" and developed an art program for local children at risk. His work in Carson has received support from the City of Carson, Wells Fargo Bank, California Arts Council, Bank of America Foundation, as well as Bank of America’s community outreach Better Money Habits volunteers. His programs in Carson have delivered a measurable impact and been instrumental in bringing attention to the community and affecting city policy. Alexey Steele and his Love My Neighbor Public Art Project in Carson were selected as a 2019 California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) Award of Excellence recipient in the Creating Community Award of Excellence category.

Learn More

Visit these sites to learn more about Alexey Steele and his artwork and to follow his visual art activities in Culver City and throughout Southern California and his Classical Underground art and music concert series. 

Alexey Steele, Artist

Alexey Steele, Artist, Facebook

Culver City Artist Laureate, Facebook

California Art Club

Love My Neighbor, Carson Outreach Program

Alexey Steele, Artist, Wikipedia

Classical Underground

Classical Underground, Facebook

Los Angeles Times article featuring Classical Underground, 08/22/09