Pride Source: MBA student's art exhibits fight against substance abuse

“I always say the best voice to listen to is not the one above your shoulders. It’s in your gut, it’s in your heart. Some call it intuition, others call it their inner voice,” Gute said. “But there’s no inner voice in this painting. When you’re a year sober, you’re really trying to figure out, ‘Who am I and what do I want? What am I doing with my life, and where’s my truth?’ That’s really where the painting’s coming from. It’s one of confusion on the brink of discovery and truth.”

Currently a philanthropy officer at Wayne State University for the Honors College and the College of Education, Gute’s career as a professional artist began at the age of 16 when he sold his first serious painting at auction. He credits fiber artist Marti Liddle-Lameti, one of his high school teachers, for being an advocate and motivating his artistic and academic career.

After studying fine arts painting and graduating with a degree in art history from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids on a full scholarship, Gute went on to attain a master’s degree in historic preservation and museum administration at Eastern Michigan University, where he painted “Detroit Figure.” Now Gute is also a student at WSU’s Mike Ilitch School of Business to prepare him for a leadership role at a creative nonprofit.

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