art & music
Tom Estlack is known for his interactive, kinetic and musical sculptures. Described as a “polymath” and “synesthete” he integrates video, electronics, simple machines, lighting, painting, music, animation and figurative sculpture into his studio practice. Tom’s art “connects directly to the multi-sensory nature of human experience,” making interactivity a core feature of his work.
Estlack’s sculptures are works of art that the viewer (Tom prefers to use the term “participant”) can set into motion by manipulating a handle or a crank, or by blowing on the work itself, or even by merely walking by. When you interact with one of these artworks, you become a participant in a performance involving kinetic sculpture, and your interaction is critical to the expression of the work.
Working primarily from his studio in Pittsburgh PA, Estlack is also a painter, sculptor, composer, animator, filmmaker, web developer and art educator. He curated “Yes - Thank you” a contemporary art exhibition at the Brew House Association in Pittsburgh, PA in 2009. Later that year, curator Doryun Chong selected “Populace Fragments” to be shown at the Carnegie Museum of Art with the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. Tom organized an acoustic jazz performance for the show’s opening reception.
Tom exhibits sculpture and assemblage works in the United States, while his animated video works receive more international attention, showing his “Synesthesia” series of musical videos in Italy (Scoletta di San Giovanni Battista), Russia (National Center for Contemporary Arts), Romania (Florean Museum), Finland (Galleria Espoonsilta), Lithuania (Klaipeda Cultural Center) and El Salvador (Spanish Embassy Exhibition Center). He teaches workshops on animation at West Liberty University’s MAD Festival, where he recently had a solo exhibition of interactive sculpture and other works entitled “Investigations and Interactions.”
If you are a member of the belly dance community in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or West Virginia, you probably shimmied to the sounds of Ishtar, Pittsburgh’s belly dance band. Tom was their guitarist from 2013 to 2016. His guitar sound contributed a flavor of both heavy rock combined with jazz fusion elements along with some subtle acoustic guitar. Some noteworthy performances include “Art of the Belly” and the “Washington D.C. Turkish Festival.” Tom’s playing is on the album “Istanburgh” and another upcoming Ishtar release.
Other musical projects have included “Some Other Band,” a blues-rock band and solo recordings “IDK” and “Long Lost Friend.” Tom’s solo albums include compositions that provide the soundtrack to artworks from various gallery or museum exhibitions. Tom is currently involved in a project called “Soon,” a storytelling, rock/jazz, instrumental threesome, writing and playing original music.
Tom is the author of “Aspects of Late Postmodernism,” an essay published in “Check Out Art,” and the exhibition catalog for “Yes - Thank You.” His work has been reviewed by Maureen Zambito (West Liberty University), Kurt Shaw (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) and Eve Modzelewski (Pittsburgh Post Gazette). His work is included in “Fe: In the Making: 250 Years / 250 Artists” edited by Jill Larson, Vicky Clark, Joey Kennedy, Janet McCall, Katherine Talcott, Michael Olijnyk.
Tom Estlack grew up in York, Pennsylvania. He studied sculpture and painting at the Columbus College of Art and Design, before completing his master's work at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenija. He has worked as a counselor for a foster care agency, a graphic designer, art professor, digital marketer, muralist, professional musician and illustrator. His work is included in private collections and corporate offices such as Acutronic USA Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA. Find more information at estlack.com.