While most young men were experiencing a "summer of love" in 1967, Tom "Deacon Man" Steck and his Marine comrades were barely surviving a summer of hate in Vietnam. A season later, Steck had a life changing experience and gave up his M16 rifle for a sword (the Bible). Tom "Deacon Man" Steck credits his talent as God-given and believes his wood carving and sculptures are divinely inspired.
It was a spontaneous impulse to create that launched Tom into the world of folk art. In the Spring of 2002 he spied a maple tree branch lying on the ground. It looked to him like a snake. He decided to coax the serpent out of the wood and later carved and painted the branch to look like a patriotic snake. That was the first piece he sold and he's been creating ever since.
Tom's wood carvings and found object sculptures have been exhibited in the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland; the Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead, Kentucky; Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina; and Syracuse University in New York.