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Kirk Tatom

Kirk Tatom

From:  Utah | Medium: Oil on panel

Born in Manhattan, Kansas, Tatom began his formal art training at the University of Utah from which he obtained a B.F.A. in 1972 on a full merit scholarship. From there, he studied at the Kansas City Art Institute from 1973 – 1976.

Kirk Tatom was one of the foremost carvers of stone in Santa Fe for nearly 20 years. Tatom’s success in sculpture was his unique ability to create unquestionably original abstract avian forms. In 1997 he put down the chisel and picked up the paint brush. And he’s again become successful. He’s noted for painting the lush green fields and farms of this country. Tatom gravitates towards the rural where he often finds animals: cows, horses and sheep. In the beginning he strongly identified what he thought of as a “useful” landscape, rich with agricultural resources.

Just as Tatom pays great attention to the craft of his landscape paintings, he heightens their impact with exquisitely hand carved, gold leafed frames built by his father and brother.

Artist Statement

“Sketching initiates the hands-on process. The essence of form is created on the pipe by free blowing and shaping. The hot shop stage exploration is direct. Mishaps end up back in the furnace. At times frustrating, but often pointing to a new direction or return to sketching. In the cold shop, cutting exposes the sought after curves, grinding and sanding fine-tunes the details. Surface carving and sandblasting provide the texture. Sandblasted is the preferred finish as it allows a better grasp of lines and forms. Polishing is used sparingly. When employed, it enables the objects to morph better with the surrounding space or to highlight volumes within. Some work requires assembly, inclusion of laminated glass, steel elements or iron oxide coating.

Pebbles and river stones are shaped by nature and frequently turn into focal points. In a broad sense – forming, shaping, abrasion and polishing of pebbles by elements mirrors what happens at the studio. This however does not constitute the reason for their inclusion. Departing from glassblowing tradition, the substantial walls and asymmetrical shapes are the consequence of sculptural pursuit predating glass engagement, that of free-flowing and minimal forms. The focus on Form has left some unique qualities associated with glass, brilliant colors especially, beyond the horizons of interest. Attention to visually refined detail is critical, both for the piece created and as jump off point for the future work. Glass is an active co-author all along. Strictly imposing my will rarely delivered.”

Kirk Tatom


Artist in Residence, Sitka Center, Otis Oregon
Founders Series Recipient, 1993

Collection & Exhibits

Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, Utah
City of Greenville, Greenville, Texas
Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas
Old Jail Art Center, Albany, Texas
First Union Bank of Nashville, Nashville, Tennesee
Staats International, Boston, Massachusetts
Cal-Surance Associates, Inc., Torrence California
Bruce Lindstrom, IAIA, Denver, Colorado
James Seitz, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sam Ballen, La Fonda Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Arndt and Associates, Tempe, Arizona
Baptist Medical Center of Oklahoma, Inc., Oklahoma City
St. Vincents Hospital, Santa Fe, New Mexico
George Michael, California/ London


Focus (2002, 2001,2000, 1995,1988)
SFE, Summer/Fall 1989
Palm Springs Life, Oct. 1988
Designers West Magazine, August 1987
SFE, Summer/Fall 1987
“Reflections of the Southwest” calendar, Baptist Medical Center, Oklahoma City