Artist Tom Calhoun
Born in Waialua, ‘O‘ahu, in 1953, Tom grew up as the middle child in a family of four brothers and one sister. As the children were teenagers of the sixties, family discussions covered a wide range of topics, creating an atmosphere of curiosity and a challenging of old ideas. He learned to question and, more importantly, to seek out answers for himself. Tom’s search for meaning in life carries over into his daily woodworking. Finding the proper balance between design and the inherent beauty of wood requires conscious effort. The process can start with the physical labor of felling and milling trees into usable lumber, and continues through design, execution, and finishing, Tom is known to produce pages of sketches in the process of refining and engineering an initial inspiration. “My work is deeply satisfying because it is a craft that keeps me physically, mentally and esthetically active.”
Although primarily self taught, Tom credits his high school art teacher for early inspiration. Noted artist Sydney Yee’s encouragement and guidance provided an impetus towards experimentation and expression. Today, this reveals itself in Tom’s passion for ingenious joinery and intricate carving and inlay.
The use of limited and diminishing resources of indigenous Hawaiian woods requires an effort to remain “pono” (which roughly translates as “correct behavior”). This has developed into an involvement in protecting and encouraging the survival of native plants, thereby helping the Hawaiian culture to also continue. Tom is an active volunteer with “Living Indigenous Forest Ecosystems”, a local non-profit organization. His involvement in Hawaiian culture also led to a major role in the restoration of “Mo‘olele”, Maui’s 43 foot double-hull Hawaiian sailing canoe, during the mid 90’s.
Tom’s work has appeared in juried exhibits of Art Maui, Hawai‘i Craftsman, Young Presidents Organization, and Lama Ho‘ike’s Ho‘okahua show. The Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association’s “Woods of Hawai‘i” show bestowed Tom with “First Place Furniture” in 1993, 1997, and 2002; “Best of Show” in 1996, and “First Place Open” in 2002. HIs unique, museum quality work is included in private collections throughout the United States.
Living and working high on the slopes of Haleakala with wonderful views of islands in the sun and sea, magnificent sunsets and sunrises, and brilliant starry nights, Tom finds endless inspiration for his art.
Please feel free to consult with him about a piece for your home or office.