Christopher’s fascination with American penny scales began in 1971, at the age of 22. As he stood on a scale in the Union Depot, a downtown Columbus, Ohio landmark, he heard a voice say, "Buy all you can." Within months his lifelong passion had begun with his first acquisition of the very scale that spoke to him. Fifty years and counting, he is still adding to his unique collection.
His interest in patina and provenance garners respect from the museums who have exhibited pieces from his collection. They are: COSI, the Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, Ohio; Taft Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio; Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta, Georgia; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois; Museum of Science and Industry, Los Angeles, California; the San Francisco Airport Commission Museum, San Francisco, California; Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio; Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center, Portsmouth, Ohio; National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Ohio State University Urban Arts Space, Columbus, Ohio and the National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, Virginia. Click here to see a history of Chris's exhibitions.
Educated at The Ohio State University as an artist, Steele has worked as a contract potter, performance artist, and visual artist. He works with wood, canvas, paper, paint, fiberglass, metal, clay, and found objects.
He was invited by Marcia Tucker of The New Museum in New York to participate in the exhibit Outside New York, State of Ohio. His work has been reviewed in The Village Voice, The Soho Weekly News, Dialogue Magazine, and The New Art Examiner. Art critics Rose Lee Goldberg, John Perrault, and Peter Frank have praised his work.
For over thirty years, Steele applied his artistic talents to architectural model building. His model portfolio includes work of the internationally acclaimed architectural firms of Arata Isozaki, Richard Trott, Jaque Robertson, Peter Eisenman and Heery International. His model work has appeared in Progressive Architecture and Architectural Record.
As a longstanding neighborhood volunteer, Steele was founder and president of the nonprofit award-winning architectural preservation group Citizens for a Better Skyline. The group designed and funded preservation and public arts projects, including the nationally recognized Mona Lisa mural painted by Brian Clemons, in Columbus, Ohio.
Awards include The Ohio Historical Preservation Office “Public Education and Awareness Award”, 1985; The Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau “City Beautiful Award”, 1987; The Institute of Business Designers “CID” Award, 1991 and The Columbus Landmarks Foundation Henry L. Hunker Urban Legacy Award, 2011.
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