Born and raised in New York City, Steven Salzman was greatly influenced by the urban landscape with its vista of rectangular shapes of different scale and proportion, its contrasts and subtle modulations of light and color in a space that was both deep and far away, all neatly contained by the rectangle of the window frame. On the ground level, the city’s grid of simple numbered streets and avenues became his geometric theme park. Salzman first learned how to draw by copying comic books and had an aptitude for illustration. From an early age, trips to New York's museums were a regular activity and it was a retrospective of Abstract-Expressionism at the Whitney Museum of American Art that ultimately committed him to being a painter. He started his training, first at the Art-Students League, then Bard College, Hunter College, and, finally the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. During this student phase, he was selected to be a studio assistant for master colorist Sanford Wurmfeld, then the chair of the art department at Hunter, and went on to work for seminal artists Ellsworth Kelly, Tom Wesselman and Judy Rifka, and regarded these jobs as a major part of his education, embracing aspects of their practice and thinking. As a young artist in the 80s, Salzman showed his work in artist run galleries and in downtown nightclubs in the East Village, like Mo David gallery and the infamous Pyramid Club. By the 90s he was curating exhibitions and showing his work in alternative artist-run spaces, like Hallways in Buffalo, and the Drawing Center and White Columns in lower Manhattan. He also did public art projects such as show in Saint Peters Church, was commissioned to do an advertisement campaign for Absolut Vodka, and like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol before him, make art in department store windows (Saks Fifth Avenue).