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Tom Pazderka

Focus: Site Specific Sculpture | Mentor: Colleen M. Kelly

When an accomplished artist like Tom Pazderka asks about being mentored, their dedication to art is clear. An interdisciplinary installation artist, painter, sculptor, teacher and writer, Tom holds a M.F.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he was a Regents’ Fellow and the Artist in Residence for the 2016-2017 Academic Year. He was a lecturer in Art at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. Half-Czech and half-American, Tom is the son of working class immigrants and moved to the United States at the age of 12, following the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.

Tom contact Art Without Limits about mentorship opportunities. Being fairly new to the area, he was interested in assistance creating his community of artists. We reached out to Colleen M. Kelly about mentoring Tom. Like Tom, Colleen is an installation artist, painter, and sculptor, who also earned her M.F.A. from UC Santa Barbara. She has an awe-inspiring artistic energy and actively networks with artists throughout Southern California. They met at an AWoL BizArts Workshop, and hit it off! One of Tom’s large paintings was later purchased by a gallery owner from Albuquerque, at our May/June 2017 emerging artist exhibition at the Wildling Museum of Art & Nature in Solvang.

“I burn, I draw, I construct and deconstruct objects loaded with historical and social baggage and conflicting ideologies. Often, I combine a particular Czech fatalism with an American optimism to strange effect. Is history written by great leaders or madmen? Perhaps the answer does not matter. Through a personal vision of history, I created a canon of famous and notorious cabin dwellers, of places both real and non-specific, inhabited and abandoned, because that is how time and history sometimes appear.”

“My work runs through different practices: painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, bookmaking, video, photography, and social practice. The materials I use are simple, wood, mostly plywood, white oil paint, ashes collected from previous paintings and charcoal, some of which I find on local beaches. I burn the plywood with a torch, apply ashes and charcoal to the surface and finally paint the image into the ash in many layers with white oil paint. Most of my installations are found materials.” — Tom Pazderka, Emerging Artist