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Stevo Sadvary translates passion for life into his art

Rex Rutkoski
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Stevo Sadvary designed this mirror.
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Stevo Sadvary’s bridgescapes of Pittsburgh are popular.
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Artist Stevo Sadvary will display 30-plus recent pieces in his debut at Penn State, New Kensington, Feb. 1-28. A free meet-the-artist reception is 6:30-8 p.m. Feb. 8.
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Stevo Sadvary’s iron cross
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Stevo Sadvary’s art brightens a park in Natrona, Harrison Township.
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Stevo Sadvary works with his mosaic class at Artsmiths of Pittsburgh.
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Stevo Sadvary’s created these mosaic birds in Natrona Park.

Steven “Stevo” Sadvary isn’t shy about sharing a grand vision for his creativity.

“I would like the world to be a more beautiful, happier place through my art, ” says the Penn Hills resident whose studio is in Squirrel Hill. “I simply want my art to speak for itself. I want it to be dazzling, colorful and joyous and to convey the whimsy of my nature. I want the love that I put into my artwork to transmit out into the universe.”

Those who have experienced the stunning variety of Sadvary’s artistry, the foundation of which is in fibers and tiles, likely would say he certainly is succeeding in his corner of that universe.

His tapestries, scarves and hand-loomed rugs bring color and texture to the lives of many customers.

For several years, his name was found on a commercially popular, signature series of hand-knit sweaters. His mosaics adorn hotel lobbies, restaurants, residences, parks, walls and other locations throughout the Pittsburgh region. He was selected as one of the pool of artists to create the North Side mural through the Sprout Fund.

One mosaic was selected for a bi-annual religious art show at Saint Vincent College, Unity, and Sadvary was commissioned to brighten Natrona, Harrison Township, with five outdoor mosaics, four murals and a gabion basket wall with mosaic features near the community garden.

Artistic vacation

The Washington County native wants to take people on a journey. “I enjoy creating art that allows the viewer to escape into a world behind the glass tiles, to travel their own journey through my art,” he explains.

Sadvary’s latest escape is being offered with 30-plus recent pieces in his debut at Penn State New Kensington, Feb. 1-28. A free meet-the-artist reception will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 8.

A series of six works combines bold patterns collected from photos from a visit to Italy.

“The museums of Italy are cram-packed with eye candy, the floor, walls, ceiling, trims, railings, stairs, lighting and then the artwork is all embellished with patterns. It’s like ‘Where to look?’ ” he says.

His iron cross/iron floral series takes him, according to Sadvary, “way outside” the common square frame. There also is a series of abstracts and a series of Pittsburgh bridgescapes.

Summer project

This summer, he will create a large outdoor mural of a steam train, tender and coal cars at The Ruins Project near Perryopolis, Fayette County. “I am interested in public art as a means to express my zest for life; a zest so real and colorful and fun that it craves the privilege to be appreciated by the public,” Sadvary says.

What inspires him

He is inspired by nature, its innate beauty and spiritual essence: “The wind, for example, or reflections,” he says. “I am drawn to what is behind the visual elements in life.”

Mosaics seem to him to have a life of their own. “They are textured and shiny, but hard and fixed. The tile lines flow like water or air in whimsical ways. Each tile has its own shape and personality, but yet all the tiles magically fit together to create a cohesive message/image,” Sadvary explains.

Kate McGrady, founder and executive director of Artsmiths of Pittsburgh Arts and Cultural Center, Mt. Lebanon, is happy to share his expression.

The nonprofit arts education organization, where Sadvary is an instructor, carries his work in both mosaics and weaving.

She met him through the Fiber Arts Guild at a show in 2016 and at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Artsmiths hosted an exhibit of his work in 2017.

‘Why not be happy?’

“We were drawn to his work for several reasons. It showcases his wide range and ability. He is able to create commercial work (signs and wallscapes), realistic pieces (dogs and people), scenes (the City of Pittsburgh), abstract work (wall art, mirrors and trivets) and just plain fun items (fish, hearts, sunbursts),” McGrady explains.

“We were drawn to it because of the range but even more so because he is ‘Stevo,’ not Steve, because ‘Steve’ just doesn’t do him justice. He is a very down-to-earth, chill person who is also extremely talented.”

His mosaic class is the organization’s most popular offering.

“People of all ages and abilities enjoy making mosaics because everyone can do it, and Stevo, along with his senior dog, Scooby, make it fun. In a nutshell, he is one of my favorite people,” McGrady says.

He exudes a joyful demeanor and spirit. “Well, why not be happy?” he reasons. “I have never really given this much thought because it does come to me naturally.”

He greets people that he knows very enthusiastically, probably because, he says, he is sincerely happy to see them.

“This greeting will automatically light a spark in their demeanor. It’s easy for me to change the channel and be upbeat. I know some brooding type of artists. I am just the opposite,” he says. “There is so much passion for life that bubbles up within me. I acquire joy from most everything around me. I have desires to share these feelings with others and have found that the best way to express them, without putting a polka-dotted lampshade over my head, is to make artwork.”

Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review
contributing writer.