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Steven Johnson Leyba

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Title: Steven Johnson Leyba  
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Subject: Unspeakable, September 3, 1966 births
Collection: 1966 Births, American Satanists, Living People
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Steven Johnson Leyba

Steven Johnson Leyba (born September 3, 1966) is an artist, painter, fine art book maker, author, spoken word performance artist, and musician, who claims Mescalero Apache ancestry. He has been called the father of “Sexpressionism” by art critic Carlo McCormick.

His work has been criticized for using the swastika symbol and sexual imagery for the purposes of shock and controversy.

In 1994 he was made a Reverend in the Church of Satan by Anton LaVey.


  • Work 1
  • Inspiration 2
  • Censorship 3
  • Fame 4
  • Books 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Leyba’s mixed media paintings utilize photographic collage, acrylic paint, oil paint, beadwork, as well as human blood. Leyba’s work attempts to 'liberate' human sexuality from commercialism. Using recontextualized images of human genitalia he emphasizes aesthetic notions of beauty and the politics of sexuality.

His hand-made fine art books which can weigh up to seventy pounds consist of bound pages of paintings on canvas.

His public performances consist of spoken word rants, cutting, piercing and extreme acts of degradation and sadomasochism.

He has released two albums of spoken word and music on Adversary Records: The Rev. Steven Johnson Leyba Presents: The United Satanic Apache Front, and Fuck Your Freedom. He has produced album covers for the bands Unveiled and Faggot.

Leyba is currently on mixmedia Book 14 : WAR IS TRUTH.

Lebya is also involved with a side musical project entitled Project #9, a collaboration of Leyba's spoken word, and a highly regarded artist by the name of Marly Preston. They have toured the west coast, and have released one album together, entitled Covenant of the Blade.[1][2]


Leyba is inspired by Native American motifs such as the swastika, Apache Gahn Dancers, images of Native American warriors such as Geronimo, as well as the landscape of the human body.


In March 1997 his painting “Wounded Knee Decomposition” was censored by the KiMo Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico during a Native American art exhibition held to raise money to allow American Indian prison inmates to hold and attend sweat lodge ceremonies. A special screen was set up to segregate his painting from the rest of the exhibit.[3]


In 1997 he performed his “Apache Whiskey Rite” before an audience of the San Francisco political establishment at the political consultant Jack Davis’ fiftieth birthday party. During the performance Leyba was sodomized by a woman wearing a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey in a harness. The performance resulted in national media attention [4][5] including the front page of the New York Times,[6] references in scholarly articles,[7] and public debate.

In 2002 he was the subject of the film documentary "Unspeakable:The Life & Art of Reverend Steven Johnson Leyba" [8] by Marc Rokoff.


Leyba’s first book Coyote, Satan, Amerika was published by Last Gasp in 2001 and featured reviews of his work by William S. Burroughs, H.R. Giger, Poppy Z. Brite, Clive Barker, and others. His memoir The Last American Painter, with an introduction by Genesis P-Orridge was published by Coyotel Press in 2008. In 2009 Coyotel Press published his fine art book, Sexpressionist Portraits, and a collaboration with Dave Archer, Steve Hapy, and Will Taylor, The Trickster’s Bible.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Dinner and Art With Satan". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Albuquerque Journal 3/22/97". Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "The San Francisco Chronicle 5/8/97". SFGate. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Danielle Willis". Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "New York Times 05/10/97". 10 May 1997. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "“Human Dignity and Contemporary Liberalism” Brad Stetson". Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "San Francisco Independent Film Festival". Retrieved 22 November 2014. 

External links

  • Steven Leyba's Homepage
  • Unspeakable Movie
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