Life Inside the Frame – A Visual Tour of Tom Suhler’s Contemporary Fine Art

In the Smoke Collection, I combine dancers, aerialists, nudes and smoke to create compelling and complex imagery. This video is a visual guide that leads you through some of the forms, characters and stories each with different relationships, struggles, emotions and perspectives.

I visit many different types of art exhibits and spend countless hours thinking about what makes one engaging. A brief guide that provides just a little bit of context is one of the elements I appreciate. I don’t want to much information, just a nudge in a general direction. Then I can explore the art on my terms. There is always time to find out more about the art and artist later. This video is crafted to be that kind of a nudge.

Life Inside the Frame tries to get the viewer to engage a work by exploring many of the different pieces that make up the whole. Then looking at the work in its entirety.

Another element I like is something that gets me physically engaged with art. My Changing Perspectives piece works in this manner and is something that audiences seem to enjoy.

Sounds & Sights from Tom Suhler’s Original Smoke Set

For over two years I worked on developing ideas, stories, imagery and forms with one common element, smoke. This video gives you a brief look at the final step in the creative process for me. I worked alongside some very talented artists who are dancers and aerialist to bring those thoughts to life.

This is a rare look onto my sets as they are closed to the public. I find that restricting the set to only the artists involved helps foster an environment that is beneficial for the creative process. One that is safe for everyone to try things without worrying about failing. This is very important when attempting things that have not been done before.

Sounds & Sights lets you listen in on brief snippets between myself and the artists as we transform thoughts into physical scenes. The audio is overlaid with stills consisting of test shots, rehearsals and final images.

I will be returning to the studio this Spring to continue my exploration of smoke.

Michael Moschen: An Artist Exploring Space, Rhythm and Inspiration through Juggling

My first encounter with Michael Moschen was a YouTube video of him performing “The Triangle”.  The lighting caught my eye even before he began his performance.  Then his interesting use of space and sound totally captivated me.  I immediately connected with how he defined a space and then used his art to explore and further define what that space means.  He integrates his entire body, movements and sound with the triangle.

Michael Moschen

He really articulates what he does in a TED Talk I discovered.  He uses phrases like: “explore rhythm and space”, “how to join with the space”, “building towards complexity”, “creating space” and “exploring geometry and the rhythm of shape”.  I think most artists can see some of what they do in these ideas.

We define spaces in many different ways.  Dancers and musicians may use rhythms.  Architects walls and ceilings.  Painters color.  Then within the spaces, we explore, join with it and build complexity.


Throughout his talk you discover that his inspirations come from some very different places.  It is a good reminder how any of us can draw on inspiration from almost anything you encounter and experience.

Moschen talks about developing vocabularies or languages of moving objects.  I heard almost this exact phrase from a tango dancer.  She told me that she did not learn to dance the tango.  Instead, she learned the vocabulary of the tango.  Then she was able to express something through the dance.  This metaphor resonates with me as I continue to learn many different languages.  Those of light, water and most recently smoke.  The better my vocabulary the more engaging my expressions.

Towards the end of his TED Talk, he has beautiful way of talking about his process.  “What I love is that I never know what I’m working on, why I’m working on it. They are not ideas, they are instincts.” He later continues with, “…I like not to know for as long as possible.  …because then it tells me the truth, instead of imposing the truth.” A thought I keep coming back to when I’m trying to force something that just isn’t working.  Standing back a bit sometimes allows me see the truth.