TYRONE GETER: ARTIST BIOGRAPHY
In a career that spreads across two continents, Tyrone Geter has built an international reputation as a world-class artist, painter, sculptor, illustrator and teacher. Recently retired Associate Professor of Art at Benedict College in Columbia, SC, Geter grew up in Anniston, Alabama, during a time defined by strict segregation laws and social injustice. With a population of less that 25,000, Anniston was a site of numerous acts of racial violence during the Civil Rights Era. The immediacy of these events and an inherited legacy of spiritual strength and fortitude against all the odds inform and shape Geter’s work.
Geter received his Master’s of Fine Arts from Ohio University in 1978 with an emphasis on painting and drawing. An exceptional draftsman, his portraits are sensitive, timeless and masterfully executed. Their power, displayed through their expression, gesture and adornments, seem often suspended in an otherworldly environment. Equal to the history his figures embody, they also speak of a spiritual world overflowing with compassions and empathy. In this regard his work is uniquely distinctive.
In 1979, Tyrone Geter relocated to Zaria, Nigeria, a move that proved to be a turning point in his development and growth as an artist. For seven years he lived, drew and painted among the Fulani and local peoples of Northern Nigeria. During this period he created numerous paintings that captured the richness and depth of the cultures of Northern Nigeria. He describes the experience as an experience that taught him ”to understandthe nature of life in a society where life was nature and sometimes both hard and cruel.” Further he experienced “ a lesson in the creative process that no art school would ever teach me.”
Those seven years in Nigeria proved to be the most important influence in his life and art. He returned to the United States in 1987 and a teaching position at the University of Akron where he transformed his experience in Nigeria into the most powerful work of his career.
His work has been exhibited at the Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC, Florence Museum of Art, Florence, SC, WaterFront Gallery, Charleston, SC, Center for Afro-American Artists, Boston, MA; Butler Institute for American Art, Youngstown, OH; Hampton Institute College Museum, Hampton, VA; Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA, to name a few. His honors include first place, Moja Arts Festival, Charleston, SC; first place Robert Duncanson Award from Taft Museum, Cincinnati, OH; artist fellowship grant from Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, Boston, MA; grant from Columbus, Ohio Arts Council.
Additionally, Tyrone Geter is in demand as an illustrator of children’s books and has illustrated a number of important books for young readers. He has just completed a children book on the life of James Earl Jones. The list includes Irene Smalls-Hector Irene and the Big, Fine Nickel; Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1991, reprinted, 2004; Evelyn Coleman, White Socks Only, A. Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1996 and Dinah Johnson’s Sunday Week, Holt (New York, NY), 1999.
Tyrone Geter lives in Columbia, SC and teaches art at Benedict College.