CHICAGO (CBS) — Steve Connell is an artist. A painter. A unique painter.

“I haven’t picked up an actual paintbrush in a couple years now.”

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WBBM: Do you miss it?

“Not really,” he laughs.

Connell sketches places he likes in the city.

The sketches go on his iPad.

“There’s my initial sketch. So I can put a sketch in there and I build on top of my sketch and little by little. I can apply the paint — the virtual paint.”

And he paints with his finger on the iPad.


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“What I was getting from this method rivaled what I was doing on canvas. And I thought, ‘Why am I getting paint all over my elbows when I can use my iPad?’

“And what’s funny is I actually still use my finger. So I’ve come full circle in my art career. I’m a five-year-old again.”

Connell is working on a series called “Chicago Night.”

It’s an intersection of neon, Edward Hopper’s late-night urban isolation and Chicago history.


“What I found was that people were responding to these. Everybody has an affinity for the different locations. I’d get somebody — like Dinkel’s Bakery. Their grandmother used to take them there when they were kids.


“That was the side benefit — that what was interesting to me aesthetically — there was a personal attachment with people who were interested in my paintings.”

“When I do this, it feels like I’m painting traditionally — I’m getting so used to it. And sometimes I actually try to clean the paint off my finger. Then I think, no — it’s all virtual. It’s all a virtual thing.”

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And when he’s finished on the iPad, he sends the painting to his computer. It then gets enlarged and printed and then mounted on woodblocks or canvas.