Stemming from what some might call a premature exposure to Ken Burns documentaries, Lillian Stephen has been interested in design since a young age. At 9 years old, her Ray Eames Halloween costume had to be explained to many of her classmates. Her passion for the preservation of design history led her to internships at The Landmarks Association of St. Louis, the National Building Arts Center, and The Art Institute of Chicago Archives. Lillian graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in 2017. Following graduation, she took part in an artist residency at the Burren College of Art, in Ireland. The unique landscape and visual history of the region informed a series of paintings that pushed her work in different directions. Lillian currently lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri, where the rich architectural history continues to inform her everyday sketching.
Lillian Stephen’s work revolves around form, rooted in an interest in history and design. Working with a range of media, from printmaking, to furniture design, to sculpture, she is interested in the process of making and remaking, and repetition both in form and process. Stephen views art making as a kinetic activity, moving pieces around until getting something satisfying. This playfulness of movable parts takes away from the anxiety of making something so polished. She strives to make things that are clean, considered, smooth, and crisp, while simultaneously maintaining evidence of the hand.