Art is therapy for my soul.

Sculpture is my release from everything in this crazy world. It helps me focus and often boil down the day’s events. Music is the catalyst, what starts the party, piquing my excitement as I prepare to create.  I am fully addicted to the process of creation. Knowing that I can take a random item that is trash in many people’s eyes and make something extraordinary out of it feeds my drive.

When I get a new object, I twirl it around, try to find something interesting, whether it’s a node or striations. Then see how I can manipulate that into something cool.  I start with chalk and draw a few rudimentary lines and then it comes down to the first cut and that’s where it lies. You can’t take back the first cut. Some of my best pieces have been from salvage after a project didn’t turn out as planned, but every third or fourth sculpture feels like the best one yet and that’s the drug that keeps me coming back for more.

I’m always open to try a new process and material. Lately I’ve been experimenting with resin and mica powder, going back, remixing it, pouring, watching, kind of like a DJ creating a song. You have to ad lib the whole time until you get it exactly how you want it.

I’ve mortgaged my future several times for this passion and it’s well worth it. It’s always nice to go to bed thinking that you accomplished something pretty cool and made something unique.                                                                                              

—Tommy N.

After surviving a gas explosion in my apartment in 1998…

These are the first pieces I even made. They absolutely started the fire, no pun intended. Making art out of things that were going to be discarded became my whole schtick.

The chunk of wood in the middle is a piece of hickory that was on our back porch. It was the very first piece that I ever worked on that my dad put in a device for me, and I spent three weeks hollowing out an eyeball for it. All while every time I tried to grip something, my knuckles would pop open from skin grafts, which happened daily, and especially at physical therapy. There were no wrinkles, and it was a necessary thing to get the skin to be pliable.

Years later, I added the top and bottom to the eyeball to make a cane that is now a wall piece.

The next piece I made was from a piece of kindling destined to be used to start a fire in our wood-burning stove. For the first year, all of the faces looked tortured with their mouths, wide-open, screaming, and in pain.

My third piece with the face in the limb was created as my father was rapidly succumbing to the cancer that was all over his body, including his brain and bones at the age of 62.

Six months after my accident, just as I was being able to take care of myself, my father passed away. He only saw a few of my creations, while he was here on earth.

These pieces are not for sale but just a small introduction into the world that brought me to sculpture and the healing powers of art.