Friday, May 30, 2014

Tom Peterson

Peterson Statue of Liberty

Here's the Found Artists exhibit panel text developed for Tom Peterson, along with some photographs taken at his shop in Egg Harbor City.

Tom Peterson operates a business in Egg Harbor, the last of several generations of family business, ranging from his grandfather’s pottery to his father’s gas station to Tom’s auto repair shop , all located on the same site, and all linked to the historic German community of that town.  With Tom, the emphasis has always been on family -- an early junk sculpture depicted a family tableau -- and his more recent efforts involve fabricating things to delight and amuse his wife and children at home.  He’s made whimsical pieces, such as dragons and dinosaurs, legendary pieces such as the Jersey Devil and a Day of the Dead figure for a Mexican restaurant, and “Americana” – a Rocky Balboa statue, the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, and his masterpiece, an outsized Statue of Liberty which advertises the business (it’s made from old car parts, as well as golf clubs and gumball machines) and doubles as a local landmark.  Tom learns by doing, and has branched out from welding to experiment with sheet metal.  Ever mediating between what is valuable and what is junk, between what is practical and what is art, between daily labor at the shop and creative retreat, Tom is an artist in situ, rooted in the local context, devoted to family, at work in the intersection between familiar and whimsical worlds.      

Re-purposed Car Seat

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