Stecei moved to the Cape at 19, joining his best friend from Brazil. Right away, Cape Cod moved him in unexpected ways. “I was amazed by the landscape,” he says. “In Brazil, you would see that only in the movies.” The area’s open spaces—marshes, cranberry bogs, and ocean views— inspired Stecei to start painting landscapes. “I try to keep my compositions pretty simple, so I can concentrate more on the atmosphere and the light,” he says. “That’s what inspires me the most.”
Stecei has a sister in Centerville and his father, a former Cape Codder, travels from Brazil for long visits. (Stecei’s mother died when he was 15.) Stecei holds down a job at a woodworking shop in Hyannis, then paints at night and on weekends. He has a six-year-old daughter, Stella, whom he calls an inspiration and “already a little artist.”
Stecei’s gratitude for his life adds to the depth and meaning of his art. He recalls the day he walked into Addison Art Gallery with two or three paintings under his arm. “I had no experience with the art market,” he says. “I figured I’d try there, a big gallery, and work my way down, because I was sure, I was not going to get in.” Addison, he says, offered to test the waters and took two or three paintings to hang. “I left, not even sure I got in,” Stecei says, laughing. He has been a strong presence at the gallery ever since.
Stecei’s world continues its positive, upward trend, and he knows the importance of taking stock and realizing his blessings. “I’ve lived here almost half my life,” he says of the Cape. “I love how things are done on the Cape, the architecture, the landscapes. I used to be younger, listening to punk rock. Then I got to know the history of the Cape and the historical places. Now I’ve fallen in love with the way it is. It’s a gift to have arrived in this art community.”