I am a product designer, inventor, sculptor, and public artist. For the past five years I have been working in product design. I have been creating studio art and public art professionally for more than 25 years. My work is imbued with a sense of play and discovery. My designs and sculptures have incorporated themes of culture, science, technology, and landscape. I consider my work to be grounded in the physicality of its materials. At the same time, I strive to create things that appeal to the eye, spark delight, and engage the mind.
Thomas Strich is a mixed media artist who has been working on public art and studio art projects professionally since 1993. Tom finds great value in working in both spheres. With his studio art, Tom has been able to push beyond conventions. He uses his work to express evolving, challenging ideas while engaging his viewers at the same time. Within the public art sphere, he has created popular sculptural projects that highlight the historical and aesthetic character of their sites and have enlivened their surroundings.
Revealing connections between art and science are important within Tom’s work. This focus stems from his earlier academic studies of art, natural history, physics, and astronomy. From a young age, Tom has been a birdwatcher and stargazer. He is also an avid gardener. Tom maintains an ongoing interest in science and continues to read many books on neuroscience, cosmology, and natural history.
Exploration is the underlying theme that runs through all of Tom’s work. His work is imbued with a love of the search for new knowledge and meaning when encountering the natural world. One particular focus in his work is on the processes of perception and the tools we use to understand the world around us. Early on, Tom developed a love of the aesthetic qualities of scientific instrumentation. References to these instruments have been an ongoing theme throughout his work. Tom uses these forms to explore the human relationship to the land and to consider physical landscape as a metaphor for terrains of the mind. Many of his projects strive to direct the viewer’s attention to the special qualities of elements of the natural world, and the interrelated connections between these elements within the landscape.
Tom works with metal, wood, concrete and found objects in his sculpture. He also works in photography and photo constructions, monoprints, drawing and book arts. He has also worked collaboratively, with planners, architects, and landscape architects to produce art-enhanced built environments. With his own gardening, Tom has created a wildlife friendly habitat using native plantings within an urban setting.
Tom has exhibited his works in galleries and museums in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. His works are in museum and gallery collections throughout the Southwest. He has taught design, drawing, and sculpture at colleges and universities in Arizona and California.
Tom has collaborated with his wife, Maria Mahar, on educational projects related to hummingbirds in the United States. They published the multimedia book Hover: Hummingbirds in the United States in iBooks in 2016. They have also given educational presentations to the local community about their hummingbird-focused projects.
Tom loves play and toys. He has designed products inspired by play and by the natural world: from patent-pending toy inventions to coloring pages. Toy bricks and model trains are favorites, and he has enjoyed building brick MOCs with his son. He shared his love of brick building as a coach for his son’s First LEGO League robotics team for 3 years.