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Artist Onicas Gaddis at Studio Design Gallery

  • Studio Design Gallery 431 West Franklin Street Chapel Hill, NC, 27516 United States (map)

Onicas Gaddis at Studio Design Gallery

Steve Onicas Gaddis, born April 10, 1975, was number 10 of 12 children born to his mother, Mattie. He was placed into foster care at an early age, along with three other siblings.  Conditions in his first foster home were appalling.  Most can only imagine living with constant whippings, starvation, and scrounging for scraps thrown outside for the dogs.  After several attempts to take his own life, Onicas was taken from the home.  

Throughout his remaining childhood and early teen years, he was placed in several different group homes.  Onicas was around 16 when he convinced Margie Lee, who was already fostering his two brothers, Phillip and Bart, to let him come and live with her.  By this time, Onicas already knew he wanted to be an artist.  Finding it difficult to fit in with family and classmates, Onicas became a "homebody".  He would skip the weekend parties to stay at home and sketch pictures from the family bible.  

After graduating high school, then spending several years in community college, Onicas had the opportunity to paint with the Sarah Carlisle Towery Art Colony, in Kellyton, Alabama. This group of artists, including the Colony’s namesake, Miss Sarah, met once a week at an old middle school, remodeled into the beautiful home of Deborah Griffith.  In the old gym, artists would set up their easels and enjoy hours of classical music, painting, and each others company.  Onicas used this time to learn, and not think about the finished piece, just joy and discovery. 

Now, many years later, his passion is stronger than ever, and he uses his unique vision to create art that captivates its viewer.  

The Sarah Carlisle Towery Art Colony continues its tradition and invites artists to Lake Martin to paint, in honor of his mentor, the late Miss Sarah. 

"Besides God, art has been the one thing that never left me. I was put on this earth to create art, and to show kids that grow up in foster care, just because we had a ‘bad’ start to life, doesn't mean our entire lives have to be ruined."   ~ ONICAS GADDIS

Visit OnicasGaddis/ to hear my music and poetry. I rap and paint my life story, hopefully to inspire kids that are living a life similar to mines. I consider it a blessing... 75% of us are dead, in jail, or on drugs, I have to do my part to lower that percentage before I leave this Earth... Peace!!!