Painter, sculptor, jewelry artist and writer Tom Hellwarth says the concept behind his new gallery space is ‘life being art’ and wishes there was one word to encompass his many creative outlets. Hellwarth’s new gallery, Tometry, opened May 14 on Wall Street in downtown Bend (above Local Joe) as a predecessor to Stone Soup, a gallery he maintained in Santa Monica for 13 years.
Hellwarth says no one medium can hold his many tastes. “Jewelry is great but too narrow. Working on a canvas with paint is much more spacious which conjures a kind of freedom. I find myself wondering, why am I huddled over a bench when I could be stretched out on a canvas.” In this way he enjoys sprinkling his talents amongst many outlets.
Mixing mediums helps Hellwarth fully express his vision. Pointing to Oil on foil, he says, “this collection is made from the recycled paint pallets of Lipstick Rocks, an earlier series.”
Hellwarth explains certain groupings of circular shapes delineate letters and punctuation. “The concept is a visual language. I am writing language into the shapes of the painting. My hope is that the observer will interact and have a relationship with the painting. That a conversation will occur between the piece and the audience.”
Ultimately, combining art forms inspires Hellwarth in his mission to create something different.
Early inspiration on the road to Tometry included a degree in creative writing and purposely not following a set fine arts curriculum. “I liked that in writing the format stopped at a point. When creating a haiku, as long as you follow the form, you are free to explore content that is unique. By taking single art classes independently I avoided being locked into an arbitrary painting, sculpting or jewelry program. I was never forced to follow someone else’s form. I learned each trade independently.”
Classes from the late sculpting teacher, Ken Price greatly inspired Hellwarth.
When asked how he ended up in Bend, Hellwarth says a chance encounter with a Peace Corps participant in New Delhi paved the way. “I used to travel to India twice a year from 1986-1991 while importing art. During a trip I met this amazing young lady from Bend, Oregon. This was the first time the area was put on my radar.”
Hellwarth sells his work around the U.S. and internationally, having just sent a ring to Switzerland. “I am fortunate to have loyal clients and work for them directly. I am building business in Bend and am continuing relationships through commissioned work with many followers in Santa Monica. I always wanted to work on Wall Street but didn’t want to do anything in the financial services industry. I got what I wanted!”
925 Wall St., Bend
Gallery hours are by appointment