Tom Shannon: The Painter and the Pendulum

TED visits Tom Shannon in his Manhattan studio for an intimate look at his science-inspired art. An eye-opening, personal conversation with John Hockenberry reveals how nature’s forces – and the onset of Parkinson’s tremors – interact in his life and craft. Tom Shannon’s mixed-material sculpture seems to levitate – often it actually does – thanks to powerful magnets and clever arrangements of suspension wire.

Judy’s Story

On Memorial Day 2009, a Facebook friend posted that she was on her way to a pottery studio in Madison, WI. I happened to be on FB just then, so I asked about it since I live in Madison. I met my friend at the studio, spoke to the instructor and signed up for an adult summer class. My intent was to make pots on a wheel, but I discovered I couldn’t do it because the spinning wheel made me nauseous. The teacher put a lump of clay in my hands and told me see what happens, so I did. I’ve been hand building sculptures ever since and love it.

Autism gifts me with a literal and concrete way of thinking. My thoughts are all in pictures. Hand building sculptures allows me to show my thoughts. Each sculpture in my Brown Paper Bag series is a rendition of how a person with autism might look were all people represented by brown paper bags. Autistics may appear a little scruffy like a rumpled brown paper bag, with tears or even with the bottom of the bag missing. Some people cannot see beyond the autistic scruffies and thus miss the blessings of individual [...] continue the story