Artist and teacher’s art displayed at Kean’s library

By Melissa Jewels


If you have not been in the library to see Steven Speeney’s peculiar, yet, inviting art display, you really haven’t reached your full potential to appreciate art. Speeney’s art, which is merely pieces of ceramic and wood with a unique style or pattern, require no glue to fit together.

Ceramic and wood modules.
Photo credit: Melissa Jewels

Speeney’s approach to art is different to say the least. His pieces are named after roads. Yes, actual roads that he—and probably you—have driven on at some point. Route 72 and 280, to name a couple, take on a whole new meaning now.

How has Speeney come to this conclusion to name his work?Speeney drives approximately 10,000 miles in the summer all over these roads since he manages pools as a summer job.

“Everyone’s got their preconceived notions of these roads,” saidSpeeney. “If there are roads they [my friends] hate, they see the piece and it could become their favorite road.”

Last spring, Speeney began making the pieces that are now displayed in Kean’s library. His biggest piece, 9D Pine, was made for the Morris Museum’s 90th Anniversary in 2002 located in Morristown, New Jersey.

9D Pine took about four months to make. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that no part of 9D Pine requires glue, even though it stands 7’6” tall.

“Pieces are held together by joints, gravity, and weight of other pieces—nothing is glued,” explained Speeney. “It’s more of a ‘wow’ factor to have the pieces holding each other up,” he said.

9D Pine.
Photo credit: Melissa Jewels

Every part of the art is natural. Nothing is even painted. Speeney said that everything has an “organic feel to it.”

An exciting aspect to his gallery is his “Like Me, Tag Me, Win Me” where he will choose a winner of one of his pieces. All there is to do is to take a picture of any piece and post it on the wall to hisFacebook page. This is a dream opportunity for any admirer ofSpeeney’s work, as his work is priced at no less than $800 per piece.

Eventually, Speeney hopes to create a line of pieces at no more than six per line. This way, his art will become even more personal and unique.

Speeney has been a Graphic Design teacher for eight years at Watchung Hills High School in New Jersey. He studied Graphic Design at Fairleigh Dickinson University and graduated in 2002, the same year 9D pine was “born.”

After graduating college, Speeney was in the advertising business for two years before receiving his Master’s Degree in Graphic Design at Ramapo College. Aside from being an artist, teacher and pool manager, he’s also a firefighter.

Speeney’s art will be displayed in the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery located in the library near Starbucks. His exhibit will run until Nov. 8.

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