About the Artist

Tom Anderson
Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson was born in 1951 in Salt Lake City, the son of a jazz musician. By the time the family settled in Vancouver, Washington, Anderson's formative years had been shaped by syncopated rhythm and life on the road (36 states by the age of four).  He earned an Associate of Arts degree from Clark College in 1971.  Part of his education included three months of travel in Europe, where he studied firsthand the works of the great masters.

In the autumn of 1971, he enrolled at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.  There, in addition to his Asian art and Philosophy studies, Anderson made some meaningful contributions to the first few years of the experimental college's development.  He initiated the use of the 16mm animation facilities, helped establish the FM Radio station KAOS, co-created the four-story library mural and worked as an assistant graphic designer, developing the College's catalogs and visual identity.  He graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  That same year, Anderson co-founded Mansion Glass Studios in Olympia.  This Collaboration won recognition locally and nationally for their design and fabrication of Architectural Art Glass commissions, as well as for their restoration projects.

Anderson first attended the highly esteemed Pilchuck Glass School in 1986, as a teaching assistant to Henry Halem.  He returned in 1987, on a scholarship with Susan Stinsmuhlen_Amend, and again in 1988 and 1989 as a teaching assistant in the advanced graduate program, specializing in glass casting and enamel kiln firing.  In 1990, Anderson established his own studio in Olympia.  Since then he has continued his work in painting, metal fabrication, mixed media constructions and printmaking.  He is represented by galleries in Oregon, Washington, Florida, and California.  In addition to commissions, Anderson exhibits regularly and his work can be found in over 1600 public and private collections including the Oregon Arts Commission, the Washington Arts Commission, Delta Airlines, the City of Olympia, Hewlett Packard, US Bank, Providence St. Peter Hospital.  

Artist Statement

"I am usually not thinking so much about a finished work, but am inspired, accepting and mystified by the process of creating it.  I see each of my works as a rehearsal in enduring uncertainty.  I strive to be deliberate in my approach, although I am fascinated by re-creating a condition where I am out of my depth, uncertain, no longer feeling in control, yet generating something.  Creating an atmosphere that encourages risk and stepping outside the comfort zone of what I think I know and enter those uncertain realms of what I am about to discover, and to use those discoveries as a basis for perception and action."

"The materials I use are often found or recycled metals, i.e. copper, aluminum, steel or brass.  The application of specific chemical formulas and patinas create a variety of color and texture, which become my "canvas" for the addition of other elements i.e. gold leaf, pastel, graphite, and varnishes.  Images, shapes, and color are often spontaneous events as I am influenced by the relationship of these materials to each other.  The union of opposites."

"All the elements combined, physically as well as metaphorically, are among the tools I use to continually re-invent and express the dynamics of my own life, as well as to hopefully reflect to the viewer the dynamics and emotion of their own spirit."

"The rest is trusting my intuition, having faith in the possibilities, and a knowingness of when to quit."


Selected for Washington State Arts Commission Artists Resource Bank, 2002-2004, 2000-2002, 1998-2000, 1996-1998 and 1994-1996