Some have called Ilgvars Steins a "post-surrealist" but that is a classification that he had never truly embraced. Steins' art education first started with Leo Svemps in Riga, Latvia in 1941-42 where he was taught art composition. After the war, Steins continued his studies with Friedrik Milts in Libeka, Germany, while living in a camp for displaced persons. After moving to Candada, in 1958 Steins graduated from the Ontario College of Art with 'summa cum laude' (highest honors) designation.
In 1959 Steins and his family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where he worked with the CBC as a graphic artist until 1965. Once again another opportunity presented itself and Steins moved to Ottawa where he took a government position at eh Experimental Farm working as an illustrator of various plants and insects. He remained at this position until 1978 when he moved back to Toronto where he accepted work with the North York Board until his retirement in 1990. Steins saw retirement as an opportunity to spend his time on new works and prepare for new exhibits. Since 1959, Steins has had 19 individual exhibitions and has had works exhibited in Latvia.
Over the years, Steins has created many remarkable works; many have been sold but there are some that he kept for his own personal collection that will never be sold.
A new opportunity had presented itself and Steins had moved leaving Toronto, his home for many years. Steins had embarked on a journey many would not attempt in their youth let alone in their retirement years. Steins had moved to Dawson City, Yukon to live with his eldest son John Steins. Steins continued to create work. The inspiration was still there. The thought provoking work continued; Steins passed away on November 11th 2011 at the 11 hour at the age of 83.