Stephen Early began his art education at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He has received many notable portrait painting commissions from the likes of Richard Carlin, Henry Siegel (the founder of Sea Gull Lighting Company), and the Honorable Judge William Hart Rufe II, among others. He was the recipient of a Certificate of Excellence at the Portrait Society of America's 2008 and 2010 Portrait Competitions.
Early is a Studio Incamminati teaching fellow who joined the school in 2002 at its inception and has served as principal instructor in Nelson Shanks' Intensive and Advanced Painting Workshops at Studio Incamminati. He has also taught workshops at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and at the New York Academy of Fine Arts Workshop, among others.
He also served as Shanks' teaching assistant at the Art Students League of New York. Previously, he worked as an illustrator after receiving his A.S. degree in commercial art from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He completed additional studies at the Art Students League of New York and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, in Philadelphia.He has exhibited his work at the Scottsdale Salon of Fine Art in Scottsdale, Arizona; The Gratz Gallery and Conservation Studio in Doylestown, PA; in the Forbes Magazine Gallery in New York City; and the Union League of Philadelphia, among others.