Steve Kestrel was born in 1947 in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in southern New Mexico at the interface of the high desert and the Sacramento Mountains. This edge of the Chihuahuan Desert is a land of contrasts in its ecosystems and corresponding flora and fauna. With his family, he raised and trained quarter horses and worked cattle on ranches up through his college years, where he studied natural sciences at Eastern New Mexico University and sculpture at Colorado State University. Kestrel now resides with his wife, Cindi, on a 62-acre wildlife preserve in Redstone Canyon, west of Fort Collins, Colorado.
William Kerr, founder and trustee of the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA), says that “Steve’s objects are a never-ending source of surprise to me. . . . He has the ability to see into the stone and envision a unique object that then, through his artistry, emerges. The intellectual and tactile come together seamlessly in his art.”
Kestrel’s many awards include the Prix de West Purchase Award at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (NCWHM)’s Prix de West Invitational in 2013 and the James Earl Fraser Sculpture Award in 2019 and 2017; the Purchase Award at the Briscoe Art Museum’s 2013 Night of Artists; the WAA Purchase Award in 2014 and Gold Medal for Sculpture in 2011, 2012, and 2013 at the Phoenix Art Museum’s West Select; the Artists’ Choice Award in 2017, Featured Artist in 2011, and Best of Show in 2005 and 2008 at the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale; and the People’s Choice Award in 2007 and the Red Smith Award in 2008 at the NMWA Western Visions Show and Sale.
Kestrel regularly shows at the Coors Western Art Exhibit and Sale, the NCWHM’s Prix de West, and the NMWA’s Western Visions. He was one of eight artists showcased in Woolaroc Museum’s 2017 The Best of the Best: Retrospective Exhibit and Sale.
His work is in the collections of 15 museums, including the Booth Western Art Museum, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, Brookgreen Gardens, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, the Denver Art Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Gilcrease Museum, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art (17 pieces), the Phoenix Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Wichita Art Museum, and the Woodson Art Museum.
Steve Kestrel is represented by Claggett/Rey Gallery, Vail, Colorado; Davis & Blevins Main Street Gallery, Saint Jo, Texas; Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Simpson Gallagher Gallery, Cody, Wyoming.
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