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Tyrone Hart Creating Courthouse Mural

By Turiya S. A. Raheem
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 13 | Posted Dec. 10, 2012

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Tyrone Hart working on the Superior Court mural in Atlantic City, Dec. 2012.

ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY — Tyrone Hart is homegrown and self-taught, a local artist of extraordinary talent.  

Like most multi-generational black families in Atlantic City, his grandparents, Katie Bell and James Gardner, came here from Virginia in the 1920s to work and eventually made Atlantic City their home. 

Hart's parents, Doris and Seymour, worked long hours when Tyrone was growing and it was Uncle Levert “Termite” Smith who encouraged his artwork. 

Tyrone loved to sketch and doodle when he was young, he says. He tells me that Uncle Termite was illiterate, which contributed to the many years he spent being incarcerated though he was a gifted artist. 

He never actually taught him anything, but always told Tyrone, “You’ll go further than me, because you can read and write.” 

Unfortunately, art classes in school did not contribute to Tyrone’s development as an artist.

He didn’t know any other artists, art stores or venues that would display his work. He simply made the walls of his bedroom his canvass and drew a lot when his friends came over to hang out. 

As a young boy at New Jersey Avenue School, Spiderman was his hero and he entered a homemade multimedia Spiderman project in a school art contest and won first prize. 

It was later shown at the Atlantic City Art Center. 

At Chelsea Junior High, an art teacher discouraged his drawings of animals, cartoons and a favorite toothache drawing so badly that he refused to attend art class at A.C. High School.  

For the next 20 years or so after graduation in 1976, Tyrone didn’t produce much of anything. He worked — eventually joining a painters’ union partly because of his love for the scent of paints — got married and started a family.

Painting hotel rooms and the like helped Tyrone understand the science of painting, the precision involved, pigments and mixing techniques. He took a job painting signs at Great Adventures amusement park and learned about lead-based paints and how to blend colors.

When a car accident left him homebound in 2000, he became bored with household chores and to save his sanity, he said he began to draw again and by trial and error, taught himself how to paint people, places and things. 

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 13 of 13
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1. Karen B. said... on Dec 12, 2012 at 02:09PM

“What an inspiring article!!”

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2. Anonymous said... on Dec 12, 2012 at 02:57PM

“what an inspriation for all artist in this area and erywhere. thank you for sharing his story.”

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3. Shakenah B said... on Dec 13, 2012 at 11:34AM

“I'm so glad that such a talented man LEVERT SMITH could be such a inspiration to you....He has taught you well may your UNCLE rest in peace!!!”

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4. Anonymous said... on Dec 13, 2012 at 11:44AM

“This article is very inspiring but is it believable...”

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5. Anonymous said... on Dec 13, 2012 at 11:44AM

“This article is very inspiring but is it believable...”

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6. Steven O. said... on Dec 14, 2012 at 11:14AM

“whats not to believe?”

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7. John B. Bryans said... on Dec 14, 2012 at 08:05PM

“Hope to be at the unveiling!”

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8. Hassan #2 said... on Dec 15, 2012 at 12:05PM

“It's believable to me. When I started seventh grade the band director said I was not good enough to join the band on trombone. Since then I have majored in music, played in the U.S. Navy band, the Washington Redskins band, South Jersey Area Wind Ensemble, Jazz on the Boardwalk, Gardner's Basin and many locations internationally. I must say that I did eventually make the Jr. H.S. band and saw the director again when I was an adult. He was extremely proud to hear about my accomplishments as I know Tyrone's uncle would be. Oh yeah, Michael Jordan was originally cut from his school's basketbal team -- ever heard of him?”

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9. Tyrone L. Hart said... on Jan 24, 2013 at 07:51PM

“Thanks everyone for your beautiful comments! And to Sister, and Brother Raheem" for this story...Thank you! If anyone that may have trouble believing this story please contact me! @ tyrone-hart.artistwebsites.com
Thankz" and Be Blessed!”

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10. Anonymous said... on Jan 25, 2013 at 03:57PM

“How great is God !!!!”

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11. Anonymous said... on Feb 25, 2013 at 07:09PM

“If I can remember the story my uncle Levert was very intelligent and you were not an artist until your aunt Doris and your brother Levert died so Tyrone get your story together before you give it to the Press!!!!”

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12. Mr. Tyrone L. Hart said... on Mar 10, 2013 at 07:41PM

“Yes He was that! But your not old enough to me bout Termite! He couldn't read well nor write! But thats not important! What is" is that fact is that he was very talent and great!! He passed his love of Art 2 me! and i have been an Artist all my life!!! I'm just coming out now" to let everyone see what i have been doing in the dark...I had help Termite with a few projects back in the day! The Hide a way Bar. Club Harlem. and The New Jersey Cafe...Get your stories 2gether!! and stop being a punk show me ur face and name! Cause of him' is why I'am!”

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13. Mr Tyrone L Hart said... on Mar 10, 2013 at 08:02PM

“Termite use 2 have me fill out things for him when i was younger! On where none of you where around! Termites mind was sharpe like a razor! No Question! He want me to know that" he was and he didn't want me to end up that way...U don't know Sugar!! He was a Great Man! My Hero! Plus i was Drawing when Momma & Pop was still alive...U No' how long ago that was? NO!! Stop H8tin...Be Blessed!”

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