Tom Hlas

About Me

As an abstract artist, I work primarily in acrylics and mixed media collage.

I was born and raised near the small, rural town of Elberon, Iowa, where I grew up the eighth of ten children. I then moved to the Washington, DC area to do postgraduate work, then to Miami, Florida and later to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tiring of big city life, I moved to the small village of Norfolk, Connecticut, where I now live and work. My move to the country has had a big impact on my work.

Art courses make up only a part of my formal education. I studied drawing and painting at the Montgomery Community College in Rockville, Maryland, early in my art career. My diverse educational experiences also include a Bachelor degree in Vocal Music and postgraduate studies in philosophy and theology as well as on-the-job training in marketing and graphic design.

The paper cutouts of Matisse, the abstract expressionists, the color field painters of yesteryear as well as artists of today are all sources of inspiration to me. In both 2009 and 2010, I was awarded a one-month artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont.

My paintings are grounded in memories with an eye looking toward the future. The concept of home is very important to me: home as a place where I grew up, home as the many places I’ve lived since, home where I live now, home as a sense of belonging, home as hospitality and welcome to others. Being a rather gregarious person, my paintings often reflect my internal conversations which help balance and ground my exterior and interior personas.