Tom Otterness
Sculptor
01:28

Tom Otterness on Inspiration

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Tom Otterness tries to incorporate influences from everywhere.

Tom Otterness

Tom Otterness is an American sculptor whose permanent installation, "Life Underground," is located in the 14th St/8th Avenue subway station in New York City. His work, usually cartoonish and cheerful but with a dark side, can be found in parks and public squares throughout the world. Otterness works out of a 20,000 square-foot studio in Brooklyn, New York.
Transcript

Question: Who are your biggest influences?

Tom Otterness: God! It’s so, I get stumped with this question sometimes. It’s so broad based. I’d tried to make a kind of a… I try to keep a very broad eye. I’d tried to bring in influences from every source that I can get my hands on and sort of condensed them or boil them down to some kind of universal style. So, you know, everything from South American work to Chinese to Greek, you know, it’s traditional work… I get lost in that, you know. I’d like to think I’m influenced from everywhere. Oh, my dad was a poet who worked at Boeing in Wichita but I wrote poetry, and there was art around the house. My mom always encourage that, you know, we had our Van Gogh reproductions and Goya’s the little way with the bird on the [string], you know. I remember looking in the cats waiting to eat the bird. I remember that very well.


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