A Washington Alphabet - Steve Gardner

Where is it?

Baggage Claim Restrooms

Gardner's tiles can be found leading into and in the restrooms.

About the Art

In this particular series of sculptures, Gardner tried to find a compromise between realism and his well-known stylizations. The sculptures refer to specific images; he wanted them to be recognizable but not typical. Gardner attempted to infuse the pieces with information and narrative. There exists a stated image in each sculpture that acts as the subject (an apple, for example); however, the apple is less the subject of the piece than the woman who is harvesting the fruit.

Information courtesy of the artist

"I try to infuse my work with opposites existing together: ancient figurative styles with contemporary themes, realistic shading with unrealistic stylizations, and obvious situations with ambiguous undercurrents." – Steve Gardner

The Details


Steve Gardner




Relief sculptures (glazed terra cotta)


Tiles A, B, and C are 24" x 32" and tiles D-Z are 12" x 12"

Did you know?

The larger A, B, and C sculptures were created without using molds; because of this technique, they are one-of-a-kind sculptures.

  • <p>A is for apple. © Steve Gardner</p>
  • <p>B is for blackberry. © Steve Gardner</p>
  • <p>C is for canoe. © Steve Gardner</p>
  • <p>D is for dam. © Steve Gardner</p>
  • <p>E is for elk. © Steve Gardner</p>
  • <p>F is for ferry. © Steve Gardner</p>

About the Artist

Sculpting with architectural terra cotta, Steve Gardner creates three-dimensional reliefs that are innovative in surface color and treatment while reminiscent of traditional architectural techniques. Manipulation of surface pattern, angular depictions of the human figure, and a sense of allegory are mainstays of Gardner’s public and private commissions.

Short Bio

Seattle artist Steve Gardner studied art and biology at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and received his M.F.A. in ceramic sculpture from Central Washington University in Ellensburg. Gardner has sculptural installations in the LaSalle Building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Denali Lodge in Denali, Alaska. Using cast glass, metal, and terra cotta, Gardner enhances the aesthetics of the site by incorporating local legends into his pieces.

Similar Artwork

Work by Steve Gardner

- Three Allegories of Learning: terra cotta relief sculptures based on three allegories of learning are found in a fitting location: the Yakima Valley Community College.

- The Torch: a mural found at South Puget Sound Community College comprised of cast glass and laser cut aluminum tells the tale of a Puget Sound Prometheus.

At the Airport

Interested in seeing another artist's take on restroom tiles? Visit the next set of restrooms in the Baggage Claim to see Norman Courtney’s tiles. Follow the STQRY link in the Connected Stories module.

A Washington Alphabet - Steve Gardner

Gardner's tiles provide alphabetical beauty to the baggage claim restrooms.