Steve Kestrel grew up in southern New Mexico at the interface of the high desert and Sacramento mountains. This edge of the Chihuahuan Desert is a land of contrasts, in its ecosystems and corresponding flora and fauna. The bones of the land are there for all to see and read, if motivated and curious enough. With his family, he raised and trained quarter horses and worked cattle on ranches up through his college years. Kestrel now resides with his wife, Cindi, on a 43-acre “wildlife preserve” in Colorado’s Redstone Canyon. Of his Colorado home and studio, Kestrel says:
“My studio in Redstone Canyon is a converted 3,400 sq. ft. barn (originally built in 1952 & added to in 1984) on which I have done very extensive remodeling work. I now have it divided into working sections: stone carving room; welding & metal chasing room; mold & wax storage room; large 28’ x 40’ general work room; office, library, display room and large storage rooms.”
“The 43 acres we live on is much like northern New Mexico- red sandstone cliffs reaching 150-200 feet high; two smaller canyons with permanent water, ½ mile of Redstone Creek with riparian vegetation, cottonwoods & on the hills, juniper, ponderosa pine, mountain mahogany, chamisa, sage, squaw bush and many native grasses and wildflowers. I get many of the stones I carve out of the creek bed where they have come from the washed down overburden, glaciers and upstream deposits of granite, schist & gneiss, over thousands if not millions of years.”
“We moved here because of the landscape and the wildlife. On a fairly regular basis we see deer, coyote, rabbits, raptors, bobcats, waterfowl, elk, snakes and occasionally, bear, mountain lion, raccoon and fox. The studio is about 600 feet from the house, so it’s a nice walk across the creek and under the cottonwoods. We designed and built much of the house ourselves in 1994, so it fits our needs very well. We are 13 miles from Fort Collins or Loveland and we love the solace and solitude it provides. It has always nurtured and inspired us.”
William Kerr, founder and trustee of the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA), stated that “Steve’s objects are a never-ending source of surprise to me…. He has the ability to see into the stone and envision a unique object that then, through his artistry, emerges. The intellectual and tactile come together seamlessly in his art.” At the ‘NMWA Miniatures and More Show’, Kestrel won People’s Choice Award in 2007, and the Red Smith Award in 2008.
Kestrel won the Gold Medal for Sculpture for his stone carving, Ripple Effect II, in 2011 at ‘The West Select’, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ.
In 2011, Kestrel was the featured artist at the ‘Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale’ – Denver, CO; and in 2005 & 2008, he was awarded their ‘Best of Show.’
Kestrel’s bronze, A Map of the Nightjar’s Heart, has been selected for the 2012 exhibition of Birds in Art, at the Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI. In 2011 they purchased their third Kestrel sculpture, the original stone carving, Arc of Time/Falcon.
Kestrel regularly shows at: Prix de West Invitational, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK; Western Visions Show, National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, WY; Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale, National Western Stock Show, Denver, CO; Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, Buffalo Bill Historical Museum, Cody, WY; American Masters, Salmagundi Club, New York, NY; and Rendezvous Reunion, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK
Kestrel studied natural sciences at Eastern New Mexico University and sculpture at Colorado State University. His work is the collections of 11 museums, including the National Museum of Wildlife Art (which owns 15 pieces), Denver Art Museum, Gilcrease Museum, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Eiteljorg Museum, Wichita Art Museum, Woodson Art Museum, Booth Western Art Museum, Brookgreen Gardens and Leaning Tree Museum.
Kestrel is represented by:
Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
James Graham & Sons, New York, NY
Simpson Gallagher Gallery, Cody, WY
Altamira Gallery, Jackson, WY
J. Willott Gallery, Palm Desert, CA
Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, CO
Bishop Gallery, Allenspark, CO
Scottsdale, AZ; Main Street Gallery, Saint Jo, TX
American Legacy Gallery, Kansas City, MO