Tommy Balogh: The birth of an artwork | HerCanberra

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Tommy Balogh: The birth of an artwork

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Ever caught yourself looking at a piece of art at a gallery, public space, office or someone’s home and asked, ‘I wonder how this got here’?

Well, your inner detective is about to get some clues to solve the case.

While Cass and I were running around the city meeting new friends as part of HerCanberra’s ActewAGL Home Stories series, we dropped in on Tommy Balogh, a full-time modern abstract local artist.

Tommy was recently commissioned to produce and install a custom art piece in a new home being built in Watson and when he called with an invitation, we just had to swing past and check it out.

Tommy works out of his garage, which he has transformed into a cosy studio that resembles a place where a multicolour fountain has exploded—repeatedly.

When he rolled up the garage door, we were presented with his big work in progress—an almost three-meter-long piece of Perspex carefully covered with layers of bright colours.

That in itself already looked interesting enough, so Cass and I started making lots of art appreciation noises, until Tommy pointed out that we were actually looking at it from the back.

The trick is to flip the piece up, force light through it and watch the magic happen. So, we did, and you can see the universe of colour and depth in the photos.

To make this even more fun, the paint is the most fluro you can get—even more fluro than that HYPER t-shirt I had in the 90s. Some of it even has phosphorus in it so when you turn out the light it glows, and when you add UV lighting, then you get another vibrant colour show that’s better than any rave you’ve been to.

Tommy also uses his transformed backyard as a drying space for the pieces. He did say that Cass and I could walk around the art since the paint was dry, but he lied. Now the soles of my boots looked like I’ve stepped on a rainbow fairy.

The custom install in the Watson home is a big deal and will require specialised LED backlighting, a custom holding frame and fancy gyprock to a smooth edge, but it will surely be worth it.

I can just imagine how proud the owners will be to show off the custom art to their visitors and to admire it every day when they come home.

Good on the owners for supporting local artists, art in general and believing in their own design taste.

So, there you have it, that’s how art is born…and admired.


Check out Ashley’s full Home Stories series here.

Photography: Cass Atkinson

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