The American Weigh - The Christopher K. Steele Collection

About the Artist

ChristopherSteele with Mr. Peanut scaleChristopher Steele’s fascination with American penny scales began in 1971, at the age of 22. As he stood on a scale in the Union Depot, a downtown Columbus, Ohio landmark, he heard a voice say, "Buy all you can." Within months his lifelong passion had begun with his first acquisition of the very scale that spoke to him. Thirty-seven years and counting, he is still adding to his highly unique collection.

His interest in patina and provenance garners respect from the museums who have sought loans from his collection. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Taft Museum, Columbus Museum of Art, and Toledo Museum of Art have all drawn upon this national treasure. Click here to see a history of Chris's exhibitions.

Educated at The Ohio State University as an artist, Steele has worked as a contract potter, performance artist, and visual artist. He works with wood, canvas, paper, paint, fiberglass, metal, clay, and found objects.

He was invited by Marcia Tucker of The New Museum in New York to participate in the exhibit Outside New York, State of Ohio. His work has been reviewed in The Village Voice, The Soho Weekly News, Dialogue Magazine, and The New Art Examiner. Art critics Rose Lee Goldberg, John Perrault, and Peter Frank have also honored his work.

Steele has pursued architectural model building for the past 25 years. Thanks to his long association with projects by Leslie Wexner, his model portfolio includes work of the internationally acclaimed architectural firms of Arata Isozaki, Richard Trott, Peter Eisenman, and Heery International. His model work has appeared in Progressive Architecture and Architectural Record.

A lifelong community volunteer, Steele is founder and president of the non-profit architectural preservation group Citizens for a Better Skyline. Since 1983, the group has designed and funded many preservation and public arts projects, including the nationally recognized Mona Lisa mural in Columbus, Ohio.

Steele is an inventor and is developing a new coin-operated weighing machine. He would love to see the return of public weighing in America. Other examples of his inventiveness include earth-friendly art-making machines.

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