Green, Tom

Green, Tom

Presented by David Richard Gallery

Artist Statement for The Constant Artist exhibit at Katzen Arts Center. It’s like a disease. It gets into your mind and body and takes over. I’ve been addicted to art all my life. I used to read biographies of artists and think, “This is the life.” I looked and looked at great art in galleries, art magazines, museums. I found fellow travelers; I found minds and sensibilities that I took from and learned from. In the beginning, my work was somewhat derivative of many art styles. But I wasn’t original yet. Eventually, I found my own voice. Now it’s my job, and the hours are flexible. Being creative is being as free as you can get. You don’t have to answer to anybody. Except yourself. I go on walks and look around me. I notice things that resonate with me. Ideas and images fly around in my head that I sometimes catch with my “net” and put in my black book, which I always carry. Later I go back and develop my ideas into my work. My goal is not to make beautiful paintings. If it’s interesting or puzzling, then it’s alive. If it resonates, it works; it provokes a curiosity that goes beyond the visual image. The pleasure I get from painting is like the pleasure one gets from play I’m totally absorbed. I suspend thinking My curiosity and instincts guide me to make things I’ve never seen before. It’s like a mathematician solving a problem that’s never been revealed before. It’s a process of putting down something and seeing what follows. The magic is in what follows. There’s not much deliberation but a spontaneous reaction to what comes before. I know enough about the formal qualities of art: form, color, composition. I know it when I see it. It’s similar to music when your ears tell you something is right; you don’t need someone to explain it. It’s content that I often don’t fully understand, but I’m not preoccupied with content because the audience carries so much perceptual baggage. I like to make my art ambiguous to keep things open to interpretation The best response to a painting is to get into it as a child would—not trying to interpret it but reacting to it at an emotional level. When I finish a piece I let it go. I send it out where it lives in the world, open to interpretation. The response to it is part of its life and also an extension of my life into other lives. -- Tom Green, Cabin John, MD

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