Tag Archives: Steve Lyons

Remembering Steve Lyons

Steve Lyons — the Cape Cod artist who opened a gallery in Westport in 2019 — died peacefully Sunday at his Chatham home, surrounded by family. He was 62 years old, and had battled brain cancer.

When Steve opened Bankside Contemporary on Post Road West, next to National Hall, he envisioned it as both a gallery and a communal gathering place. The pandemic — which struck just a few months later — and his illness forced Bankside to close last year.

Art was his second career. Steve spent most of his adult life as a corporate writer for a mutual fund. But 9 years ago he went back to a hobby he loved. He began painting on scrap wood. Within a few years, he was named one of the Top 5 Expressionist Artists in the World.

During treatment for his cancer in California, Steve and his partner of 36 years, Peter Demers, both contracted COVID. On January 10, Peter died. Friends raised funds for Steve to return to his beloved Cape Cod.

Click here for a full obituary.

Peter Demers and Steve Lyons.

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In February 2020, I featured Steve Lyons in an “0688o” post:

Westport has plenty of art galleries.

But it may never have seen one quite like Bankside Contemporary, Steve Lyons’ new one on Post Road West.

Modeled on his successful gallery in Chatham on Cape Cod, this one — formerly Mar Silver Design, opposite Winfield Deli — is far from the very quiet/let’s examine the works/wine-and-cheese reception traditional gallery space.

Lyons prefers a “communal gathering space.” He wants people to wander in, say hi, enjoy cookies and candy and coffee, and just hang out.

“If you want art, we’ve got it,” he says. “But everyone is welcome.”

Steve Lyons’ art at Bankside Contemporary, 14 Post Road West.

If that sounds like a different kind of art gallery, well, Lyons’ path as an artist has been untraditional too.

Growing up poor in the foothills of Appalachia, he always painted. In college he minored in art and art history, but majored in something more career-oriented: journalism.

He moved to New York. He did PR for films and TV (and served a stint as critic Judith Crist’s assistant). He painted in his spare time, on weekends.

A job offer — corporate writing for a mutual fund — brought Lyons to New Haven. He bought a house on the Cape, and displayed his work at “casual shows” there.

He had some success. But he never thought about quitting his day job.

Steve Lyons

Eight years ago, Lyons began working on his back porch, painting on small pieces of scrap lumber. He put the finished art out front, with a sign asking anyone interested to put $40 or $50 in a nearby jar.

He sold 400 pieces that summer. Encouraged, he took a leap of faith to pursue art full time. “I know I’m one of the lucky ones,” he says.

Lyons opened a studio on Chatham’s Main Street — a homey place with a welcoming vibe.

In 2016 he was named one of the Top 5 Expressionist Artists in the World by the American Art Awards. The following year they named him #2 in the world for abstract expressionism. In 2018, Art Tour International Magazine listed him as one of the Top 15 Artists in the World to Watch.

It’s not quite a Grandma Moses story — she gained her first fame after age 80. But Lyons is 61 years old. Most “Artists to Watch” are not so close to Social Security.

Among the collectors paying attention was Phil Nourie. Last year — after a career in public relations and marketing — the 51-year-old Westporter started a new company.

Called GigSuite, its mission is to help people realize that after decades in a structured career, their skills actually are transferable. They can own, manage, advise and/or invest in a new, entrepreneurial field — even as their peers think about retirement.

The pair have formed an unusual business alliance. Lyons serves as Gig Suite’s art advisor. He helps clients who want to learn more about art, for aesthetic or business reasons (or both).

Steve Lyons’ “Dancing Clouds.”

Nourie, meanwhile, has helped Lyons open the Bankside Contemporary gallery.

“Steve changed careers in mid-life. He’s able to help others see it’s possible,” Nourie says.

Lyons’ artistic style is an important element in what both men do.

GigSuite’s research showed that “people need an open mind first, to overcome fear of trying something different later in life,” Nourie says. It also shows the human brain responds well to abstract expressionism.

So Lyons’ work hangs on the walls of Gig Suite’s office at 500 Post Road East, inspiring all who come to their workshops. And Gig Suite is the official host of the “Agility Through Art” series at Bankside Contemporary.

Grandma Moses, eat your heart out.

(For Steve Lyons’ website, click here.)

Roundup: Fatheads, Steve Lyons, Abilis, More

 

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The Staples boys basketball season starts (finally) soon. COVID restrictions prohibit fans in the gym. But they don’t say anything about cardboard cutouts with faces ono them.

The parent booster club hopes to fill the gym for every home game with “fathead” images of family, friends and classmates.

It’s a clever fundraiser — and easy. Just click here and attach a selfie (or more).

The deadline is Wednesday (February 4). Act quickly, fatheads!

Stephh Curry does not play for Staples. But here’s his fathead.

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Earlier this month, “06880” learned of the tough times Steve Lyons has faced.

The talented artist was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and closed Bankside Contemporary, his Post Road West gallery. During treatment in California, he and his partner of 36 years, Peter Demers both contracted COVID. On January 10, Peter died.

Heartbroken, fighting for his life and 3,000 miles from home, Steve continues to make progress toward recovery. His many friends hope he can do that in his longtime, beloved Chatham, Massachusetts.

Travel in his condition is challenging and costly. It requires a complex plan, including on-board medical services and monitoring from door to door.

His friends say: “If you have enjoyed Steve’s company, delighted in his captivating artwork in your home, or if you are simply compelled by this harrowing story, we ask you to consider donating to our effort to bring Steve home.

Click here to donate to his GoFundMe page, or to send words of encouragement.

Peter Demers and Steve Lyons.

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Now 70 years old, Abilis supports over 800 people with special needs, and their families, throughout Fairfield County. Abilis Gardens & Gifts is their store — a training site where participants gain retail experience, on their way to obtaining community jobs in sales and production.

They’ve got a wide variety of gifts and flowers available for Valentine’s Day: bouquets of roses and flower arrangements (pre-order by February 3 for pick-up February 12 – 14); love-themed home decor items; handcrafted candles, soaps and bath products; books, games and puzzles for children, and more.

Shopping can be done in their Greenwich store, online, or by phone for pick-up. To order online and place pre-orders for flowers, click here or call 203-531-4438.

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One bright light in this dark winter is the wolf moon. Westporters may not have heard wolves howling last night — the reason for its name — but they sure did enjoy watching it rise.

Joel Treisman captured this shot, at Compo Beach:

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And finally … today is the 52nd anniversary of the Beatles’ last public performance: the now-famous impromptu concert on the roof of Apple Records in London. It was broken up by the police.

 

Bankside Contemporary: The Sequel

Less than a year ago, I wrote a story about Steve Lyons.

The award-winning artist had just opened Bankside Contemporary, opposite Winfield Deli on Post Road West.

Modeled on his successful Chatham, Cape Cod gallery, he called this a “communal gathering space.” Steve wanted people to wander in, enjoy cookies and candy and coffee, and just hang out.

Steve and his life and business partner, Peter Demers, sold 6 paintings right after COVID struck, between mid-March and April. But they closed in late October — though not because of sales.

The “Steve Lyons team” writes: 

In early March, while painting in his studio, Steve saw a flash of light on the left side of his peripheral vision. Spots were found on his brain, but cancer was not diagnosed.

Steve’s symptoms persisted. He sought a second opinion. A biopsy revealed glioblastoma. He began treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Steve Lyons, outside Bankside Contemporary.

Through a medical professional Steve knows socially, he learned of an opportunity to undergo surgery and enroll in a promising new clinical trial,  available only at UCLA.

Steve and Peter headed to California in September. The initial surgery was a success. Rehabilitation followed, with many ups and downs.

But while caring for Steve in Los Angeles, Peter contracted COVID-19. After a fierce struggle in the hospital, Peter died on January 10.

Peter Demers and Steve Lyons.

Peter was a cherished member of the Chatham community, and a stalwart, gentle, guiding hand for the gallery. He was a friend to so many, whose generosity and genial presence touched all who encountered him.

Steve’s love and passion, shared and promoted at all times by Peter himself, is a worthy testament to both of them, whether they are present with us or not.

We want to thank all the lovely Westporters we got to know along the way. Steve and Peter loved the town so much.

They felt immediate warmth when they decided to open Bankside Contemporary at National Hall. We wish all Westporters and friends a healthy and happier 2021.

(For more on Steve Lyons and his art, click here.)

Steve Lyons’ art, at Bankside Contemporary.

Pic Of The Day #1064

New artwork by Steve Lyons arrives at the Bankside Contemporary gallery on Post Road West (Photo/Phil Nourie)

The Art Of Changing Careers

Westport has plenty of art galleries.

But it may never have seen one quite like Bankside Contemporary, Steve Lyons’ new one on Post Road West.

Modeled on his successful gallery in Chatham on Cape Cod, this one — formerly Mar Silver Design, opposite Winfield Deli — is far from the very quiet/let’s examine the works/wine-and-cheese reception traditional gallery space.

Lyons prefers a “communal gathering space.” He wants people to wander in, say hi, enjoy cookies and candy and coffee, and just hang out.

“If you want art, we’ve got it,” he says. “But everyone is welcome.”

Steve Lyons’ art at Bankside Contemporary, 14 Post Road West.

If that sounds like a different kind of art gallery, well, Lyons’ path as an artist has been untraditional too.

Growing up poor in the foothills of Appalachia, he always painted. In college he minored in art and art history, but majored in something more career-oriented: journalism.

He moved to New York. He did PR for films and TV (and served a stint as critic Judith Crist’s assistant). He painted in his spare time, on weekends.

A job offer — corporate writing for a mutual fund — brought Lyons to New Haven. He bought a house on the Cape, and displayed his work at “casual shows” there.

He had some success. But he never thought about quitting his day job.

Steve Lyons

Eight years ago, Lyons began working on his back porch, painting on small pieces of scrap lumber. He put the finished art out front, with a sign asking anyone interested to put $40 or $50 in a nearby jar.

He sold 400 pieces that summer. Encouraged, he took a leap of faith to pursue art full time. “I know I’m one of the lucky ones,” he says.

Lyons opened a studio on Chatham’s Main Street — a homey place with a welcoming vibe.

In 2016 he was named one of the Top 5 Expressionist Artists in the World by the American Art Awards. The following year they named him #2 in the world for abstract expressionism. In 2018, Art Tour International Magazine listed him as one of the Top 15 Artists in the World to Watch.

It’s not quite a Grandma Moses story — she gained her first fame after age 80. But Lyons is 61 years old. Most “Artists to Watch” are not so close to Social Security.

Among the collectors paying attention was Phil Nourie. Last year — after a career in public relations and marketing — the 51-year-old Westporter started a new company.

Called GigSuite, its mission is to help people realize that after decades in a structured career, their skills actually are transferable. They can own, manage, advise and/or invest in a new, entrepreneurial field — even as their peers think about retirement.

The pair have formed an unusual business alliance. Lyons serves as Gig Suite’s art advisor. He helps clients who want to learn more about art, for aesthetic or business reasons (or both).

Steve Lyons’ “Dancing Clouds.”

Nourie, meanwhile, has helped Lyons open the Bankside Contemporary gallery.

“Steve changed careers in mid-life. He’s able to help others see it’s possible,” Nourie says.

Lyons’ artistic style is an important element in what both men do.

GigSuite’s research showed that “people need an open mind first, to overcome fear of trying something different later in life,” Nourie says. It also shows the human brain responds well to abstract expressionism.

So Lyons’ work hangs on the walls of Gig Suite’s office at 500 Post Road East, inspiring all who come to their workshops. And Gig Suite is the official host of the “Agility Through Art” series at Bankside Contemporary.

Grandma Moses, eat your heart out.

(For Steve Lyons’ website, click here.)