5 Questions with Tom: Art and Downtown Fort Wayne

What has been your experience with downtown Fort Wayne? Do you live, work, or play here?

The experience I have had with Downtown Fort Wayne has been sort of an evolution in itself. When I was in grade school, Downtown wasn’t a destination. It was just a place you drove through to get to where you wanted. I lived right outside of Downtown my entire life and it’s been an amazing experience seeing it change as I have grown and changed myself. It’s awesome to see that it is still adapting to the new generations that are growing up while accommodating the elders that came before me. As I have tried to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way, Downtown has become more of a breeding ground for new opportunity.

What is your favorite part of Downtown Fort Wayne?

My favorite part of Downtown Fort Wayne is the festival community. There has always been a big presence of community in the different festivals. It feels like, in the last 10 years, it has progressively become more integrated with the different unique past-times of the people that live in Fort Wayne. I always hated when people would tell me there is nothing to do in Fort Wayne. Now it feels like there is a new event available for multiple groups of people every weekend. The icing on the cake is that it seems that the different art events are getting more recognition and there are more openings than there used to be.

What do you think about Downtown Fort Wayne’s art scene?

To be alive right now during the Fort Wayne art scene is pretty special. It feels like there is this momentum that is gradually growing stronger and stronger. There is a plethora of developments in programming and events being created in Downtown. From Taste of the Arts to museum programming and Artlink programming, they are creating programs that I have never seen in Fort Wayne.

What would you like to see happen with the art scene in Downtown?

I would like to see more collaboration of artists from different types of mediums working together. I would like for there to be a platform for working artists to come together. We could have group discussions on what Fort Wayne art is or means to them, or at least more of a community critique of each other’s work so we as artists can get more feedback from our peers.

Tell me more about your painting that is being featured in this article?

The Painting’s title is “Of All the Worlds, In All of the Galaxies, In All of the Universes, She Walked into Mine”. It is an oil paint on panel, 4’x5’: When painting this piece I was inspired by a crush I had on girl. We knew each other in the past but kind of lost contact, and then recently reconnected. I thought the concept of space and love would be an interesting juxtaposition. I was going for a galaxy type feel with the movement of the paint. I was trying to make the color palette be playful but have the seriousness of the never-ending quality of space. The title plays on a classic quote from the movie Casablanca. It was this quote I would often hear. When someone falls in love or has a crush, that person feels like they become the center of your universe, or that they have their own orbit, and it is so strong that you can’t help but drift toward them.

Article, interview, and photos By Stephen J. Bailey