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Check out Tom Flanagan’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tom Flanagan.

Tom, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve always known that I was an artist. As a child in Pennsylvania I remember drawing for hours and feeling like it was something I could do that other people couldn’t. Some people know what they’re meant to do at a young age – that was me. Drawing has always connected me to the world like nothing else. Even now, most of my best ideas come from my drawings. When I was in college I read that Picasso saw the world differently than everyone else. That concept opened up a new and exciting way to approach the world. It has stuck with me and has helped me follow where my work takes me. As a younger artist I was concerned with more conceptual driven work but now I’m more interested in how connecting with feeling drives the work.

I’ve considered myself a professional artist since 1991 when I received my MFA. I live in Maine but spend a fair amount of time on Nantucket with family and see Boston as our big city to the south. My goal is to get my work out into the public sphere and share what I do in the studio with an audience who will experience something surprising and maybe even open their eyes to the world around them. That’s what great art does for me.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
The famous American Jazz Composer and Musician, Dizzy Gillespie, once said that he wasn’t interested in music – he was interested in sounds. Similarly, I’m interested in how sensations and sensibilities guide visual experience. My paintings are about how those things fit together and what happens with that moment. For me, the process of painting through improvisation is incredibly important. Not knowing where the painting will take me and accepting the concept of mystery is paramount.

I’ve always been fascinated by artists who build their own language with a few colors, blank canvas and time. I tend to see such works as presenting something of a personal narrative of experience. My titles are meant as a way in and offer a kind of narrative tone that touches on sensation and memory. As a result, my work is more about listening than speaking. Ultimately, I make pictures I want to see.

Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I think one of the biggest challenges is fighting through all the noise of social media and making real connections with people who are interested in your work. The problem is how to do that. Whenever I travel I make sure to stop into galleries I like and talk to the staff and sometimes with the owner of the gallery. A gallery isn’t going to represent you if the chemistry isn’t there. Basically, galleries and their artists have to be partners.

I also think some artists try and show their work before it’s developed enough. If you’re starting out take some time and know what your work is about and make sure you have enough of it to show. Collectors and galleries have to know you’re the real thing before they’ll invest time and energy into representing you.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work can always be seen on my web site; www.thomasflanagan.com and my posts on Instagram @tseanflanagan. I have work in corporate and private collections in Boston and around the country. My last big show was last February and I’m always making connections with galleries and art advisors around the country. I’m trying to build relationships with galleries/art consultants looking for interesting work. I hope to hear from some of you soon.

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