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By Art House Reproductions
Steve Tame - Australia's most famous Colour Blind Artist
When questioned by his primary school teacher why he had painted everything brown, Steve remembers thinking ‘What’s wrong with you?' It wasn’t until high school, when the subject turned to learning colour recognition anatomy of the eye, that Steve made his own painful realization he was Colour Blind. It was also Steve’s first realization that he was different.
As much as it explained some of the challenges Steve had been experiencing, it was no comfort when his dreams of following his father’s footsteps into Advertising were extinguished by his inability to recognize colours sufficiently to be accepted in the industry. Steve soon discovered that this limitation now restricted his world.
Steve’s teenage years were difficult with his father developing early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and subsequent breakdown of the family unit left Steve frustrated and angry with the world. With an uncertain career path and limited opportunities in the small rural town of Albury in New South Wales Steve made the decision to head for ‘the big smoke’ of Brisbane to find his way in the world.
Falling into work in factories and warehousing saw Steve’s abilities in problem solving forge an unexpected 30 year relationship with Logistics and later management roles. But all the while his sketchbook was secretly never far away, preferring to draw in pencil and charcoals to hone his skills and hide his inability to distinguish colours.
Over the years, Steve often craved an outlet for his creative self-expression and his attempts to seek formal training in the creative arts were met with a look of confusion by the tutors. Many times they patiently explained their courses were for ‘normal’ people and they didn’t feel he was really suited to their programs as so much of the curriculum revolved around the use of colour.
Steve’s creative spirit however, was not to be denied and some years later, Steve created his first body of work. Encouraged when an Art Broker enthusiastically offered to sell his work, Steve’s excitement soon turned to heartbreak when he realized his precious artwork and the broker had disappeared, never to be seen again.
Today, still undeterred, Steve creates and paints anyway. His way. Experimenting and exploring. With Steve’s limited ability to distinguish colour, one would expect his work to be flat and two dimensional, however Steve’s work is far from that expectation. Highly influenced by a combination of light and form and the tonal qualities he sees, Steve’s work is captivating and evokes emotion.
Steve takes inspiration from different concentrations of light as well as his imagination to create abstract and impressionistic pieces that creates tension and mystery. It’s not unusual to be completely captivated by Steve’s abstract work. a myriad of questions alive in the curious mind of the beholder.
Steve Tame was born in 1964 and is husband to Sue, and father of two. He now focuses his time on his career as an Artist with original works and fine art reproductions available to purchase.
When asked what motivates Steve to paint, he answers ‘Firstly I paint for me. I’m compelled to create. To discover the depths of my artistic ability and there is an attraction to creating an emotional mood or energy from capturing something from the corner of your eye; something that your imagination has to fill in the spaces to create the picture. Everything is in my imagination waiting to be expressed. Secondly I paint for others to be able to look at something and feel good. To leave something in this world that can change how they feel. I may not be able to change their life, but by changing how they feel – that can change their life.’.
In a 'Colour-blind' world
Imagine if you had trouble knowing if your steak was cooked or you were buying a ripe banana? What if you weren’t sure whether the traffic light was stop or go? Living with Colour Blindness, or more accurately called colour-vision deficiency comes with a range of daily frustrations as well as learned behaviours to compensate for being unable to clearly distinguish colours. In certain situations it can even be dangerous.
In some countries it is considered a disability and in others a ‘learning disorder’ as it has been recognized to cause children with Colour Blindness to struggle in environments that utilize colour differentiation as part of their core learning techniques. At very least it can be a source of frustration and disappointment as certain career paths and dream jobs are denied to those who are Colour Blind.
Colour Blindness affects as many as 8% of all males of which approximately 95% have red-green deficiencies. It is possible for women to also be Colour Blind however the statistics are significantly lower at 0.5% of all women being estimated to test as having colour-vision deficiency.
Colour Blindness whether recognized as a true disability or not, is often reported to ‘feel’ like a disability or handicap to those who suffer colour-vision deficiency as it causes them to develop coping and survival mechanisms for everyday situations that non-sufferers take for granted. And often they feel forced to give up on their dreams in many areas of life.
Steve Tame is one of very few whose own creative will and drive was stronger than those who told him he couldn't.
Visit Steve's website here.
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