Tom talked with me about the holidays, his connection to the iconic Santa at PNC, and his new art “Manifest Destiny of Modernity” as well as his new art for sale for the holiday season.
How do you connect with the iconic Santa display in Downtown Fort Wayne?
This place is really special to me. Every Thanksgiving my family would come here at night after our meal. It was always all about tradition and holidays and family. Today, it reminds me of my grandparents that aren’t here anymore. We’ve been doing this tradition for 25 years and it allows me to connect with them even though they aren’t standing beside me anymore.
Do you see the Santa display as art in motion?
It makes this an eventful kind of thing instead of stationary. It turns this spot into art and into a destination. That is the power of art and I love that Fort Wayne is finding new ways to see and embrace art both every day and during the holidays.
Tell us about your latest work of art. How do you connect with it?
It is called Manifest Destiny of Modernity. This painting is about colonist moving west into uncharted and unexplored lands. They were the new explorers of America. Abstract art feels like it’s been conquered but I’m trying to dive deeper. We have only really hit the tip of the iceberg. The people that are making abstract art need to keep going deeper and doing more with it. It reminds me of this iconic Santa display. The people of the past gave up on it but then we found it stored away, and now it has become a Fort Wayne landmark. It’s pure Fort Wayne art in motion.
Why should people embrace buying art during the holiday season?
When you buy art you aren’t buying just another object. You’re buying passion and hard work and connection. It’s an emotional response that is given and received. It has more of a story connected to it. When gifts are bought local you know more about it and have a story. There is an unspoken bond between the giver, the receiver, the art, and the artist. It’s the full circle of art and giving.
“Manifest Destiny of Modernity” 2’ x 2.5′ Oil Paint on Panel – $200
Article, interview, and photos By Stephen J. Bailey