When Tom Snider creates music with his friends, it happens instantaneously and spontaneously. It may start out sounding like Jazz, morph into Sci-Fi, and then back towards Blues or Folk, until finally it becomes what it is. Tom plays multiple instruments, and uses varied techniques, and so it is with his visual art. The life he lives comes through on his canvas using all the bits, pieces, sound-bites, experiences, and tools in his talent -- he just never knows what he is about to paint. He doesn’t know what that thought or experience looks like until he is finished.
Tom Snider’s life’s worth of visual work embodies every aspect of the artist definition; although, he may take issue with the label. He believes we are all born artists and life trains it out of us. Tom has always created, and assumed everyone experienced life and creativity in the same way as he. It is in the expression we all differ, because we are all different. He just is who he is, and he figured everyone else was also. But, the Tom Snider that comes through in his varied works is authentic, creative, vibrant, and accomplished -- in a way the majority of us, and even the majority of artists, are not. He is a rare mind.
Tom is a shy person. His friends tend to be other artists and creatives, those he trusts to appreciate and understand the unique soul and personality he is. His art comes from an unaltered and unfiltered source. Perhaps these are the reasons he has been reluctant to share his work with a broader audience over the years. We are privileged to present his first-ever exhibition.
Tom is a prolific painter, and over the course of his life has covered many subjects, styles and mediums; the consistent mainstay is painting. He works almost everyday, because “there is no excuse not to paint”. He paints a style, genre, technique or subject until it is gone, out of him, he is done with it. He then goes in to a hibernation of sorts, a quiet time. These dormant moments bring a kind of anxiety -- another phase may not follow, but since the 1970’s, out of his languidness, another Tom has always emerged.
Tom graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1974. It was a time when teaching realism was out of fashion, yet that is what he wanted to learn, and what he painted. He turned to the influence of Van Gogh and Picasso -- men who painted what they wanted, until they were done, regardless of outside opinion. Towards the end of the 70’s and early 80’s, Tom’s work moved towards looser abstraction, his work began to tighten, and the result is the series we see in this exhibition. He has not painted this type of work since the 1980’s, because he was just finished with it.
As in all of Tom’s work, these paintings are a reflection of his experience. Tom’s work has always been somewhat political, more recently it has been touched with beauty, despair, humor, and pessimism. The works in this exhibition show a deliberate process, an order and vitality through their geometric shapes, patterns, and primary colors. There are moments of unpredictability: a brush stroke, a placement of a shape or color in an unexpected place, a first glance randomness, that come together to create an order. Perhaps Tom was making sense of a time and it’s events, or is it a reflection of a more ordered time?
Part of sharing Tom’s experience, is making it our own. Much like the gift of music when we listen, we get to enjoy all the bits and pieces and mastery of the tools coming together to be what they are. In our appreciation, a master creative gives a voice to our own experiences.
Tom Snider’s works have been acquired by private collectors throughout the world including: London, Vienna, Spain, Columbia, Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Dallas. His works can be found exclusively through Caza Sikes, Cincinnati, OH.