For artist Tom Brand, life and the art he creates have been an improvisation.
“You do what interests you, and I have a great deal of interests,” he said. “I’m interested in a great many things. Maybe too many.”
Over the years, he’s explored numerous other interests and career paths. He was a journeyman printer and had owned his own printing company.
He also restored a classic wooden sailboat, and raced a Formula 1 Cooper in a road race.
Michigan-City based Brand’s exhibit, “Abstraction …. A Second Look: Paintings by Tom Brand” will be on display at The Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster through Dec. 1.
The exhibit replaces an exhibit by his wife, artist Carole Stodder.
The couple, who are both founding members of the Chicago Artists Coalition, both decided they were artists at age 10, he said.
“For me, I’m passionate about doing it,” he said. “It was almost a given. I’m an artist, period.”
South Shore Arts Gallery Manager Mary McClelland got to know Brand’s work through salon shows and other exhibits over the years and wanted him to have his own show at the center.
“I’ve gotten to know his work over the years, and he’s someone I’ve been interested in,” she said.
Brand said he works in an improvisational, abstract style.
“I try to paint abstract, but with forms and shapes so they’re intriguing and interesting,” he said. “Hopefully they resonate with the viewer.”
He is inspired by everything around him, including classical music. He and his wife have are long-time members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
“I love to listen to complicated pieces of music and wonder how they put them together,” he said.
He constructs his artwork in a similar fashion to a complicated piece of music, by putting together smaller pieces until they form a greater whole.
“I want people to look at my works and keep coming back and finding little surprises,” he said. “I want them to think they’re more than just a pretty picture. I want to give them something to think about, enjoy, and maybe come back and see it again.”