Fort Wayne Artist Shines Bright: Thomas Leffers
Jul11

Fort Wayne Artist Shines Bright: Thomas Leffers

I first met Tom a few months ago in Downtown Fort Wayne. It wasn’t long before I was made aware of his talents on the canvas. His name started popping up in conversations, in my newsfeed online, and at local social gatherings. I attended his recent art gallery that Terry Ratliff held for him in June, and the event was packed. His talents are noticeable right away. With a focus on abstract art, his subject matter stirs emotion with how color is moved brilliantly across a large canvas. Everyone sees something different in his work, but there is no denying that it sparks emotion. Tom was born in 1991 and grew up in a Catholic family in the 46805 neighborhood of State Street. He opened up to me about his struggles with depression and anxiety when he was younger. He realized that the only way he got through the day was by drawing and creating art. Instead of stress, it gave him peace of mind. Tom said, “With the help of teachers, especially Marcy Adams from Bishop Dwenger, I learned how to oil paint.” After high school, Tom enrolled at the University of Saint Francis because of the art program that was offered. “While at Saint Francis, they focused a lot on realism and drawing and painting from life. It wasn’t until my senior year that I got into abstract art. I had an outside influence from a teacher not from Fort Wayne that impacted the direction I took with my art. I would call that a focus in color, texture, and how people respond to the nature of art with an overload of color and shape. It’s the opposite of realism. I’m trying to overload all your senses with the color and direction that the paint is moving.” When I asked Tom why he has stayed in Fort Wayne, he was quick to answer. “I stayed in Fort Wayne because most of the kids I went to high school with left town as soon as they could. Everyone told me I had to leave Fort Wayne to be a successful artist because the main avenues for art are elsewhere. I want to change that process by getting my art out across the country and bring the focus back to the Midwest where I feel the representation isn’t very strong. I want to be successful in Fort Wayne because everyone that buys art in Fort Wayne buys it outside of the city. I want to change that so that people in Fort Wayne and outsiders will buy art here.” As a Millennial, Tom has quickly realized that he has to be a part of the change that he wants to see....

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