Valdosta Daily Times

Features

October 6, 2013

Art as Life

Artist brings life to his canvases

VALDOSTA — Artist Steven Michael Tette Sr.’s paintings capture moments not just in a life but moments that seem to resonate with American lives.

Some of his paintings capture the new Americana of a modern Norman Rockwell while others illustrate the cold fact of a nation at war for more than a decade.

But it is Tette’s life that informs his paintings.

“My history starts in the Midwest. I was reared between two parents and two cities in Michigan,” Tette says in an artistic statement. “I spent most of my adult life in the service of my country. At the present time, I am an art educator. I believe this is a continuation of my service, however, now my service is in direct contact to my community in which I live.”

At the age of 17, he enlisted in the Army, according to a biography provided by the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, where Tette’s work is on exhibit. He was involved in the Persian Gulf War, the Somali conflict, and hurricane-relief efforts.

These experiences “give him a personal acquaintance with the abundant ills of the world, and the gravity of the maliciousness of man,” according to this biography. “After being medically retired from service, Steven enrolled as a full-time student studying biology. At the urging of his parents, Steven decided to change his major to art education. They believed art could serve as therapy for the distress he endured while in the service.”

As an artist and an art educator, Tette believes art can change lives.

“... I want to model lifelong learning for my students,” he says. “I wish to open the eyes of my students to see what is beyond what is right in front of them, and how they can participate in their communities. I also want to show my students that they can enrich their own lives through art.”

Tette’s work reflects his views of the world.

“My work reflects an eclectic synthesis of my background, present life, and concepts of mind,” Tette says. “Using oil and graphite as the mediums for this exhibition, I envision myself allowing the scale of my works to give power, presence and significance to what otherwise could be overlooked or dismissed as mundane.”

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