Tom Wudl is best known for his intricate reflections on The Flower Ornament Scripture, a foundational text of Hua-yan Buddhism.
His images are visually complex and full of symbolism. They require intense focus: Tom wears jewelers glasses to draw the hundreds of tiny little clover shapes that make up each petal of the flower.
In this interview, Tom talks candidly about his experience as a recent graduate of the Chouinard Art Institute in the early 70’s and what the gallery world of Los Angeles was like in those years.
Since then, Tom has remained absolutely devoted to his art and sharing his passion and knowledge of the arts with his students.
Tom has strong opinions about the current state of the art world, and the idea that one must be accredited by an institution in order to be a “legitimate” artist.
By those standards, Tom Wudl admits he is not a legitimate artist. And by another standard that people insist artists should be measured by: do you make your living 100% through the sale of your art? Tom does not. Despite the fact that he is represented by the LA Louver gallery.
This is a point Tom asked me to clarify. The LA Louver is a prestigious gallery that represents high caliber artists. Along with Tom, they also represent David Hockney. But Tom’s relationship with the LA Louver gallery does not guarantee his financial security.
Tom and I discuss the irreconcilable issue regarding galleries and artists: as an artist you must stay authentic and true to your work, and yet you want your work to be seen and appreciated, you also need money to live and to continue to create.
If you don’t know Tom or his work, it is my honor to introduce you; and if you are familiar with Tom, you already know you are in for a treat.
Galleries and Artists Mentioned in the Interview: