Steven Walker was born in Brooklyn in 1955, and grew up in West Islip, Long Island. His first profound visual experience was as follows: As he lay toward dusk in his tiny bed with shoulders propped against the headboard, he would watch the lights slowly flashing atop three radio towers two towns away. From his vantage point across the room, he noticed that the mesh of the window screen would be greatly magnified as the red lights flashed in the distance. He watched with close attention, but said nothing. As a teenager he did not consider himself particularly artistic, but did occasionally make drawings and watercolors. Once in high school he made a detailed drawing of Yankee Stadium from an aerial photograph. When he showed it to a friend in the cafeteria, the friend stuck a large meatball in the middle of it. When he first visited art museums after finishing high school, he felt an affinity with all kinds of art. He took his first drawing and design classes at Wagner College, Staten Island, and though encouraged to major in art, he lacked confidence. In his twenties he worked sporadically on his own, went to museums and galleries, and felt inwardly nagged by the desire to study art. He finally began attending full-time drawing classes at the Art Students League in 1983. He later studied oil painting and then printmaking at the League, and has worked in both mediums ever since.