Tom Applegate Arts
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.