Nelson Steven's art is a reflection of physical and spiritual elements which have are grounded in the African-American experience. When he looks at a person he sees a broad palette of colors. That vision gives his portraits a multi-hued, mosaic-like style.
"I look at people and see the image in them," said the professor emeritus of art and Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts. "My art is anthems in praise of people."