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Artist Tom Hoitsma, widely known for his large-format gestural abstract paintings, found inspiration for his new metal wall sculptures in the wreckage left by a devastating tornado, which tore through his Dallas neighborhood in October 2019. With 140 mile per hour winds, the super-charged tornado ripped through old Preston Hollow, including Hoitsma’s street, leaving a path of destruction and debris. 

While on a walk with his 12-year-old daughter the morning after the tornado, Hoitsma witnessed a couple standing in front of what was left of their home. The roof was gone and only a few exterior walls were still standing. The only structure left was an interior wall with a white door (the exterior walls to that room were gone) that the couple and their two daughters huddled against during the storm. They survived without a scratch, and Hoistma couldn't help noticing an odd, almost joyful euphoria about them. They had survived against the odds and were somehow given a chance to rebuild. 

“We have all seen images of this kind of destruction in the media but to walk the neighborhood the next morning and see the destruction with my own eyes was completely surreal and deeply disturbing,” Hoitsma said. “That moment got me thinking about how humans are so resilient. We see this again and again from every corner of the world. Events in our lives can destroy our neighborhoods or break our hearts, but somehow, we are not defeated.” 

From the debris left by the destruction, beauty was created. It became Hoitsma’s mission to take whatever mangled material he could find and create something new that was vibrant and beautiful. His abstract sculptures symbolize how our hearts get bumped, bruised and battered but remain full of hope and joy. The sculptures represent the change from tragic life events to finding joy once again, with use of the twisted metal to create the perfect metaphor.

“This work, born of the tragedy and loss, is an examination of how we are able to create joy from unimaginable heart break, and the unstoppable resiliency of the human spirit,” he added.   

The first few of the abstracted “heart shaped” metal wall sculptures were constructed from the debris found following the tornado, however, Hoitsma now uses his own metals that mimic the original scrap debris after realizing the limitations of the found metals. Constructed of aluminum and finished with automotive paint, they are 100 percent weatherproof and can be placed in any indoor or outdoor living area. Pricing and additional detail can be found here.

Hoitsma is also well known for his large-format gestural abstract paintings on canvas, which now are available by commission or through galleries where he is represented around the United States, including: Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey. In addition to his metal wall sculptures and paintings, Tom is experienced in documentary filmmaking and has produced a variety of award-winning music television series including the documentary series, “The Texas Music Scene,” which continues to air throughout the country. For more information, please visit  

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