I met Steven at Le Vieux Belleville one evening in 2022 while he was painting portraits of the people at this Edith Piaf themed restaurant. He is from Great Britain originally and lives in a small atelier in the basement of an apartment building near Belleville. Steven and I became pen pals after having some inspiring conversations at the Café. He talks about food, politics, health, art, and life with unparalleled passion and rigour.
Although he has multiple health concerns, he believes in herbal and traditional methods of treatment. Every time we met, he always smelled of Nilgiri Oil (Eucalyptus) on him, and chewed on a clove, that you can smell evidently when he speaks up close to you, having poor hearing.
He invited me to his house one day, to have some chai and pakoras. We spent about 2 hours cooking and talking about life, art, his passion for hating technology and modern medicine, and his past. We had the company of many mice, and the smell of their droppings all around his house. He lives between 2 rooms, and a small broken sink for all his washing. He calls his studio 'Le Causartoire', and says it's a place of experiment and
We kept in touch for a while after that, and were supposed to get another meal at one of his friend's boat, but we lost all contact during the summer and never spoke again. I wonder if he's still living in the basement and painting at Le Vieux Belleville.