San Francisco Bay Area artist Cynthia Tom will be coordinating a virtual event on August 10. Sponsored by the SF Legion of Honor Museum, Cynthia will be taking online participants on a surrealist journey to explore how an artist moves from intuition to art images.
In two evening sessions, she will show how she arrives at her unique expression of surrealism. Over the years, haute couture, cultural heritage, and ancestral healing have inspired her art. For more than 30 years, Cynthia has evolved and developed an intrinsically dynamic form of surreal art.
She progressed from utilizing found objects, early in her career, in sometimes whimsical pieces to more profoundly intimate and intuitive large scale art installations. Initially working with a visual and then a tactile form of surrealism, when Cynthia utilized painting, her work expanded. The venues and paths that emerged not only surprised and at times, overwhelmed her, ultimately Cynthia was empowered.
In working to establish an arts-based healing program for women of color and communities of color, called ‘A Place of Her Own,’ Cynthia again took art and the experience with art to another level.
In the 2000s she was part of the ‘artist-in-residence’ program through the San Francisco Fine Art Museums. During that first decade of the 21st Century, Cynthia was invited and participated in several ‘artist residency’ programs. Like the ones at Red Poppy Art House.
This eventually lead her into curator work, not only with her art but helping other artists with their work and installations.
To focus just upon surreal elements in Cynthia’s work is an understatement. Her work is versatile. It moves from the deeply personal to a global perspective.
She explores cultural heritage, healing, empowerment, spirituality, family patterns of trauma, and feminism through the lens of social justice, community, and healing. In addition to the SF Fine Art Museums, Cynthia’s work has been shown at Marin Museum of Contemporary Arts, SOMArts Cultural Center, Los Gatos Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and more.
Internationally, her work is curated by Santiago Ribeiro of Surrealism NOW. Her work is archived in the collections at the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives and at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art collection. Cynthia is included in two academic textbooks of art and she is determined to continue to make a positive impact.
Especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, use of the Internet and virtual venue platforms has helped make art more accessible. According to the Pew Research Center, Artists and musicians on all points of the spectrum from superstars to starving singers have embraced the internet as a tool to improve how they make, market, and sell their creative works.
Based upon analysis and surveys The Pew Center observed that use of the internet was crucial. Over the past 10 to 15 years, the internet has helped to gain inspiration, build community with an audience and fellow artists, has helped artists pursue new commercial activity.
Cynthia has been among a wave of artists utilizing 21st Century technology in a variety of ways. But especially during the initial onset of COVID-19. Her online and Zoom platform presentations and workshops helped many through what has been very unprecedented times.
“I am honored to be invited to share the art process behind the work I do,” said Cynthia. Her virtual event on August 10 is to compliment the current exhibition, ‘Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy.’
Guo Pei is a fashion designer who has made dresses for celebrities, among which is singer Rihanna. Like Cynthia, Pei and her work have been gaining recognition. The Chambre syndicale de la haute couture invited her to become a member.
Making use of fashion, especially women’s fashion to make art, Cynthia understands the ripple effect fashion has upon society.
(The Guo Pei exhibit coordinators) – “They asked me to share how I use Haute Couture, Cultural Heritage, and Ancestral Healing are art mediums and inspiration,” said Cynthia.
“There are 2 sessions, (to the virtual event) Cynthia added; the first is my talk, the second, immediately following presents three more artists who work with cultural heritage and ancestral healing.”
The three artists featured in the talk are: Patricia Zamora, Katie Quan & Manon Wada. To learn more and to attend the virtual online event on August 10 visit the Cynthia Tom website.