Steve's creative mother Catherine taught him how to use scissors and thread to make his first puppet at age six. She always encouraged his creativity.
Nancy Hibbard with News Clipping
|...reflections of our past....|
16 years old - with his stable of original characters at that time. Left to right (Dwight D. Duck, Woody, Fancy Flamingo, Rusty, Herbie the Mouse.) Steve sold his first puppet to a professional vent when he was 15 years old.It was a bright orange fur fox puppet.
..............Charles Casto..................................... Nelson Roberts ...........N
Steve's High School Art teacher, Charles Casto taught him so much, and was also a magician like Steve. He took Steve to his first Magic convention and always encouraged his many crazy ideas including his early experimenting with latex. His High School music teacher Nelson Roberts empowered Steve to write and produce a full stage multi-media production, including full choir, puppets and live drama. Of course it was unconventional, about Aliens coming to Earth and discovering Christmas. This was during a very difficult period of time when Steve's father was dying from cancer. Steve's parents, who had moved to another town in the summer of his junior year, had the foresight to allow Steve to stay on at Willard High school his senior year living with a dear family. Steve was class president and had an amazing experience that year.
Steve went on to create more characters for his one man show, which included some of his first latex puppets (woman and bird) and his Bird Arm Illusion concept which he added in the seventies.
Russ Robison was Steve's sunday school teacher and an amazing engineer. He was a huge encouragment to Steve with his many inventions, including his anti-static hair dryer.
Later in life Russ worked with Steve on some business developments, toy inventions and helped with improvements to the Axtell Pro Magic Drawing Board.
Craig was the creator of many of the Maher ventriloquist dummies and latex puppets. Prophetically 20 years earlier, an older friend of Steve had give him a copy of a flier with Craig's work on it. On it was written, "Steve you should go into business doing this". After this divine connection, Craig taught Steve much about the techniques and business of puppetry and later the two were involved in several inventions with toy companies over the years.
Tony is the sculptor of the very first Barbie Doll, Revell Model Kits, Little Green Army Men and so many toys and products we grew up with. Steve took a mold making class from him and the two became best of friends. Tony taught Steve much about the mechanics of sculpture and shop techniques, and eventually came to work at Axtell Expressions for a few years as a sculptor. He can be seen working with Steve in the award winning DVD "AxTelevision"!
Steve is now a father of a talented family, and the president of Axtell Expressions, Inc...but he's still really just a kid at heart. A kid with a big dream....pushing the boundaries of his Creativity. Thanks for being part of the journey!
Now back to the FUTURE!
| MANY INSPIRATIONS ...
Rev. Gene Clark
Dr. James Dobson
Col. Bill Boley
Bill Hanna & Joe Barbera
Dick Van Dyke
Rodgers and Hammerstein
and YOU. Thanks for your loyalty and encouragement over the years.
It inspires us to continue on!