Kaleidoscopes of color

Thomas Hacker, or Tomásio, with his painting “Electric Reeds,” displayed at the Castleton University Bank Gallery in Rutland.

Under the dim, golden lights of The Castleton University Bank Gallery is the Tomásio: Abstractions of a Metaphorical World collection, filled with paintings exploding with layered texture and vivid colors of any you can imagine, abstracting the beauty of the natural world and the emotions it evokes within us. 

Thomas Hacker, also known as Tomásio, uses painting to abstract memories, emotions and truths he has experienced throughout his 28 years, not only as an outlet for his own expression, but also for his audience to interpret the piece however it resonates for them. 

“This is an homage to my best memories,” Hacker said, reflecting on his piece “Rollers at Dawn,” a kaleidoscopic landscape of reds, oranges, white, and teal. 

He went on to describe how the piece is inspired by his “most comfortable place,” which is Jennings Beach, in his hometown of Fairfield, Connecitcut, both by actual look of the waves at dawn and the abundance of pleasant memories made there. 

Tomásio revealed more stories behind his artwork, including “Minnow Club,” which he explained as “the feeling of putting [his] hands in the touch tank” at the Maritime Aquarium when he was a kid, and “Lucid Trip,” which ironically depicts a completely sober, although life changing trip to Boulder Colorado one summer, in which he says he was “thrown into another world.” 

But Hacker shows his artistic range with the expression of more difficult subjects too, namely addiction and mental health afflictions. 

Hacker has worked as a peer support specialist at Spring Lake Ranch for nearly a year, and he describes how his job continually teaches him new things about others and himself, which is evident throughout the collection. He says the job inspires him to find truths within himself which “allows [him] to create paintings that are a representation of that truth.” 

Tomásio’s “Rollers At Dawn.”

He even shares his own experience with sobriety. 

Regarding the piece, “Peach Frost,” Hacker describes how the careful overlay of blue, reminiscent of frost, over the cheery peach background is symbolic of him recently quitting cigarettes. 

“Citrus is the coping mechanism to get off cigarettes,” he explained, adding that the winter weather makes the process of quitting much harder, but citrus reminds him of warmer days and helps him stay on track. 

Beyond Tomásio’s meaningful interpretations is also the resourcefulness of his creative process. In fact, he rarely even uses a paintbrush. 

The main method he uses is dragging the edge of paint-covered cardboard, either with one color or multiple colors at a time, to create the 3D layered effect present in each one of his pieces. Then, he’ll sometimes go in with a large brush and add finishing touches. 

Hacker pursues several artistic hobbies outside of painting, especially music. He’s been making music since he was 13, and a year ago his EP “Nirvanãna” was released on Spotify, and was also playing in the background for the reception of his art collection. 

He encourages artists of all kinds to “speak your truth in your art to the fullest extent.” 

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