“Did one artist do all this?”  Variations of this question were asked in An Lanntair’s main gallery throughout yesterday (Friday August 24th) evening as the new show ‘All That I Do’ began to allow people to explore the work of locally-based artist Tom Hickman.

Working from his home in North Tolsta, whatever the material, Tom follows his impulse to create which he says has never wavered since his childhood in the Mull of Kintyre.

Tom says “As to why become an artist, I don’t think I had any choice in the matter, it was my destiny.  In a world full of suffering I find art makes it a little more bearable.  And so, I make things, all sorts of things.”

Unveiled during the evening as the core of ‘All That I Do’ was a series of six sumptuous, narrative stump-work embroideries of Biblical scenes, from the Garden of Eden to Noah’s Ark to the Nativity.  These are located in the foyer area of An Lanntair to draw people into the vast array of Tom’s unusual and esoteric works inside the gallery. These include landscape oil paintings, textile creations, furniture pieces, naïve folk art and complex and beautiful assemblages created from shells from places as varied South West Australia to North West Scotland.

Tom has exhibited widely throughout Great Britain, Western Australia and France and travelled to Canada, USA, South Africa and Japan.

His work is as diverse as his interests: mainly oils but also wood, ceramic and all manner of natural detritus such as feathers, shells and - since his time in the Hebrides – wool, ranging from the sheep on the croft to the myriad of coloured yarn used in Harris Tweed.

Head of Visual Arts & Literature Roddy Murray introduced Tom and explained how he originally thought some of the work was collections of others’ work, so varied is it.  Tom said the key to his work was time…he has no telephone or television, nor any interest in sports…so he had plenty of time for artistic work. 

 ‘All That I Do’ runs from August 24 to October 5.