I had heard about Tom many years ago through my network of friends, but I only met him in 2013 at his sister’s wedding where he had created a massive multi-panel mural of sunflowers–large enough to fill an entire wall of the reception hall.
Tom recently invited me down to the opening night of a brand new gallery in Denver called Green Spaces Gallery. Green Spaces is an office co-working space that has a cavernous meeting/event area, and they recently decided to fill the walls of that space with art. Tom, his wife Andrea Pilner (also super talented artist!) are in the first group of artists to be featured at gallery.
On display were some of Tom’s elephant herd. Tom has painted quite a few elephants over the last several years, and each of them are enormous, intricately detailed, and stunning. He wants to save elephants from the needless butcher resulting from the ivory trade, and is involved with some causes to support that end.
But what I was really down there to see was his sketchbook. In order that everybody can start a new conversation on biotechnology, even if they are from countries where we won’t be able to ship petunias due to biotechnology regulations, I asked Tom to help us out with a custom piece of artwork.
About a year ago I had seen some other sketches he had created of whimsical mechanical insects made entirely of gears and levers and beautiful scrolly ironwork wings. So to celebrate our project I asked him to use the same kind of imaginative thinking to create a custom print for our crowdfunding campaign of a mechanical petunia.
I got a photo of two pages of his sketchbook where he started out just doing a study of petunia flowers and shapes from horticultural images and descriptions. Then he got to the point where he had a bunch of salty language in regards to my ridiculous request for a mechanical petunia. And then inspiration hit him.
Tom just emailed a test print off the linoleum block he carved. This is an amazing piece of work, and at $125 is an absolute bargain to own a Tom Varani handmade print.
Support beautiful biology and pick up Tom’s print today. You can start a new conversation on biotechnology right your own home.