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Tom Applegate.  In his own words
(and probably more than you want to know).

I have always been happiest when I am outside and preferably doing something adventurous.  I suppose I should say here, " I am happiest when I am in the studio painting or creating something or other."  But that would not be true.  I blame my parents for this attitude, in a good way. I blame them for most things, but in this instance, they moved me to the middle of the Arizona desert from the middle of Los Angeles when I was two months old.  I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me.  After a time, outside the house became my world and life and I loved it!  I was being called the desert rat by three and by four I was one.  This period was when I was first exposed to art too.  My mother was an artist and painted and my Uncle Fred Passalacqua was an artist and visited us a number of times in the desert. And once my mother’s uncle, a successful artist from New York David Passalacqua (not to be mistaken with his son) came to visit.  Now the Passalacqua;'s are my and my and my mother’s step family.  I am actually a cast out Bonanno on the Sicilian side.  My mother had four different names before she was four.  I think that is cool.  But I digress...  This was about when I got my first paint by numbers set too.   


I was Devastated when my parents moved to San Diego when I was six.  Finding myself in a city was pure hell. We took to haunting the canyons behind our house and then I discovered the ocean and spent many great days there playing in the waves.  I watched the surfers and knew I needed to do that.  Eventually I became a rampant surfer and skateboarder.  Then my friend’s parents bought 200 acres of land east of San Diego.  It was a wonderland of desert boulders.   The dessert was back and has remained back.


I really got into art during my time in San Diego.  I was fascinated with art history and studied many books about the old masters and their techniques.  I learned by studying their work. This may be a good place to say art has always been a very personal thing to me, just like everything else.  I don’t have a list of shows and awards to impress the reader and make them know they need to collect me.  But I digress again.  Back to my life.     

I started getting into rock climbing in my later teens, and after my brand-new surfboard was stolen on a surf trip in Mexico, I had to make a decision, buy another surfboard or buy climbing gear.  I chose climbing and basically quite surfing for many years.  I became a rampant climber.  I ended up in North Idaho and was climbing rock, mountains and frozen waterfalls in the northwest and in Canada. 


My art shifted to painting mountains and rocks from photos I took on my trips to places like the Bugaboos in Canada. 


I became obsessed with becoming a Himalayan climber.  K2 was the mountain I dreamed of, not Everest.  But an incident with an avalanche on a mountain in Canada that broke my knee into 15 pieces changed that.  Snow seemed bad after that.  Very bad.  I went on to do all my hardest rock climbing after that and became a pilot as well.  Being the adventurous type I eventually got into flying competition aerobatics and did that for about ten years and eventually decided to retire while I was still alive.

My life now is the same old thing.  Making wine, going for a kayak in the Sierras, puttering around the garden, walking the beach, surfing, climbing and creating art that feels good to me at any particular time.  Which may be a landscape, experimental film, an abstract, or creating something combining my paintings and photographs in Photoshop. 

I guess my point is that nature and my adventures into it has always been a major artistic influence to me.  And the art I produced changed with the changes in my life and activities.  That's the way I prefer it.  

​Tom Applegate

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