Born into a military family in Austin, Texas, Ralph Steams began life moving.
He first moved to Wichita Falls in 4th grade and attended City View Elementary School. He graduated from Petrolia High School in 1972 and decided to follow his father's lead. Enlisting for two years in the United States Marine Corps, Stearns was stationed throughout southern California and worked as a legal clerk and court reporter. Upon discharge, through the G.I. Bill, he had money to pursue education in his heart's true calling… fine art. Stearns was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Midwestern State University in painting and sculpture in 1981. Lamar Advertising of Wichita Falls quickly snatched up the talented artist to work in the billboard industry. He served the company for 15 years as a commercial artist and art director.
Ralph then became a self-employed artist, participating in local/ regional/ international art shows, and instructing and painting Wichita Falls. Hired as a district mural specialist, his paintings brighten the daily grind at Wichita Falls Independent School District schools. He refers to the large-scale religious oil paintings in two Wichita Falls churches as his "legacy." His caricatures, created during various area venues, bring a smile to all portrayed. But his most visible paintings adorn buildings. His realistic cyclists' race to the finish on the "Hotter than Hell Race" headquarters. His giant parrot behind a faux brick wall brings double-takes to travelers on Kell Boulevard.
Ralph explains, "I am a figure painter. Once you learn the basic elements of painting, you can manipulate work any way you want. I am a passionate artist that loves forms and color. I love it; I breathe it. My favorite medium is oil, but my favorite style, well, I change with the weather.'"