Priscilla Steele

Priscilla Steele

Marion, IA


I was raised in New Jersey, just outside of New York City where regular trips into New York and Philadelphia opened to me a large, somewhat daunting, but very exciting, cosmopolitan world. With the promise of extensive work abroad, I chose to study at a small liberal arts college in northern New York state: Saint Lawrence University. Four years later, I had spent a productive academic year in Europe, gained an intellectual foothold and appreciation for the major shifts within Western art, and developed a strong interest in drawing and printmaking. After graduating in 1973, I moved to the Midwest and balanced printing and drawing with theatrical design and painting, as well as furniture design with my husband, Craig Campbell. It was during this decade that we also had our three children: Maggie, Charlie, and Willa. As a family, we made the decision in 1986 to move to Iowa so that I might attend graduate school at the University of Iowa for an MFA in printmaking. For several years I enjoyed teaching with the excellent faculty at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and for over 45 years have been a working artist, focusing on figurative and botanical subjects.


Artist Statement

“The mind… yearns for some hard task, lifelong, longer than life, to concentrate it and make it whole…” - Wendell Berry 

Drawing and printmaking are my chosen tools for exploring the most basic aspects of being human. So much has already been drawn, painted, sculpted, by great, historic masters that the “hard task” of the quote above has, indeed, proven to be lifelong. And, while it is certainly true that work has given meaning to my life, whether I am achieving the elusive sense of “wholeness” cited by the poet Wendell Berry, is up for grabs at the end of each day in my studio. I get close when what is personal in my own work communicates the beauty and complexity I find in life.

Priscilla Steele, Magnum Amaryllis, 2022, Mixed media on paper, 52.5" x 27.5" x 1"