Steven M. Cosentino
"Yes, I went to classes, but with art as with anything else in life, it’s mostly self-learning. Really, I learned by doing."
- Steven Cosentino
Born in New York City, the place where he continues to call home, Steven studied at the Art Students League with Rudolf Baranik and went on to teach at the League in the early 1990s. His murals can be found in homes and restaurants around the country, including a 40×14’ image on the wall of the Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex restaurant in Clermont, FL, and Bucca de Beppo restaurants from New York to Hawaii.
Cosentino has also produced a great deal of ‘socially conscious work’ in his life as an artist. His largest and most well known mural is a piece called Human Being that was produced on a rooftop of a building that had previously housed the Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation (a non-profit agency that helped hundreds of homeless adults in Midtown Manhattan). Cosentino was intimately aware of the organization because he shared space in the building, a space that served as his studio. He worked with the organization as Art Director and hired many homeless adults to help with some of the interior murals. There were over 15 murals in the center.
The building was owned and operated by St. Agnes Church who ultimately displaced the homeless adults when they sold to a developer of a multi-million dollar high rise apartment project. His mural was a statement about the willing displacement of the homeless (without any care for their well-being) in exchange for the all-mighty buck. This statement was enhanced by his use of discarded clothing from the shelter – rather than paint – to create the work of art.
The 65×35’ mural of a homeless man was quickly noticed by people who worked in offices that overlooked the 6-story building. The artwork garnered enough attention for it to be featured in the New York Times and other major media publications. This media attention helped him tell the story of the displacement of homeless adults in New York City. Unfortunately, the mural only lasted a couple months before it was removed by the church. The image and impact on the social movement, however, continue to live on through the work of Cosentino.