As a young painter Stephen Holland could not afford to hire live models, and so the images he found in boxing and other sports magazines became his subjects. He saw on those pages, the male form in all its power and glory, expressed as contemporary gladiators, conveying to him the determination and hard work any athlete must have to be a winner. Indeed, Holland found great inspiration for himself as a young artist in those magazines. He put as much discipline, devotion and determination into his own work as the subjects he painted, always striving to make art that reflected and expressed their athleticism as they reached such high levels of achievement and physical prowess.
None of this came easily for Holland. As a child he was handicapped and had to watch his family and friends play sports. The steel brace he wore on his leg prevented him from attending neighborhood schools. But handicaps often heighten one's other sensitivities. This proved true for Stephen as his talents developed elsewhere. His gift for drawing grew as he sat and sketched his friends. Though his mother used to say he began drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil, Stephen's abilities actually blossomed while attending a special high school which devoted half of each day to art studies.
He later attended the Art Students League, the School of Visual Arts and Pratt Institute, all in New York City. Holland's talent and contributions to art and sports received national recognition in 1993, when the American Sport Art Museum awarded him the honor of Sports Artist of the Year. Other honors include being the Official Artist of the Los Angeles Kings and being one of the twelve artists selected by the United States Olympic Committee to represent the 100th Anniversary of the Olympics. His work is found in the collections of celebrities, athletes, and private collectors around the globe.