Nature or nurture? A combination of both may be responsible for producing three generations of
artists in the Steiner family, each with a unique style and artistic aesthetic.
Patriarch Joe Steiner had no exposure to art as a child but remembers being thrilled when he
was able to draw a horse that actually looked like a horse at the age of four or five. Over time,
he developed his skills largely on his own, until he won a citywide art competition while still in
high school. He followed a different path for a while, majoring in psychology in college. Later, he
took occasional art classes, entered art fairs, then ran a successfully gallery and art school in
Lincolnwood for a number of years, before closing the gallery to devote more time to painting.
Joe’s daughter, Lisa, grew up around art and artists. A photo of her drawing at her father’s feet
during an art fair appeared in a local paper when she was just a preschooler. She also followed
a different path as a college undergraduate, but later studied at the School of the Art Institute of
Chicago, earned an MFA at the University of Oregon, and became a painter.
Joe’s granddaughter, Sahar, was immersed in art throughout her childhood by her grandfather,
her aunt Lisa, and her father David, who painted early on before becoming a documentary
filmmaker. She took art classes in high school and won a prestigious Gold Key in painting from
the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. She too has chosen a different major at the
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where she is a student, but she continues to study and
make art, and it is an important part of her identity and her life.