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.
Enigmatic and dynamic, the allure of Steve’s work is unquestioned in its ability to evoke powerful emotions and tension. Steve’s passion, determination and power to overcome adversity is expressed in the works he creates.
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.
In a 'Colour-blind' world
Steve Tame - Australia's most famous
Colour Blind Artist
Insert: Sophisticated filters give us an interpretation or insight into Steve's world.
2017 Archibald Prize Entry
'Head in the Clouds; Feet on the Ground'
2017 Archibald Prize entry
Acrylic on Canvas
Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground depicts the struggle between Steve's creative side and the weight of everyday life. Steve captures the experience of living a world of 'full colour' when he's an artist and his 'colourless' existence he felt before finally surrendering to his creative talents. Happiest when he embraces his passion and self expression as an artist, his world is alive with imagination and vibrancy in stark contrast to the pull of life's obligations, responsibilities and the constant advice that he needed to have a 'real job' in the 'real world'. The black and white , grey-scale existence of his stifled self expression weighs heavily and one where he feels least like himself.