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Tom Megalis: The Art of Re-use

Tom Megalis: The Art of Re-use
Tom Megalis’ work covers a wide spectrum that includes; painting, sculpture, television, film, radio and performance. Read on as he shares a bit of the story behind his work.

"I get much of my inspiration from growing up in a Greek Immigrant family in Ohio. My father worked in a steel mill and my mother worked in an industrial laundry. To make ends meet, my Greek parents rented out many of the bedrooms in our home to boarders. These men, who came from a wide variety of backgrounds, we called “roomers.” These men occupied most of our bedrooms. I slept in a room with my father and my sister and mother slept in the converted dining room.

The roomers became my entertainment, my escape, and part of my education. Having a group of strangers in my home has definitely shaped my love for characters and story. This has been the driving force for much of my art, radio projects and television work for the last twenty five years.

When a “roomer” would leave, often times they left behind bags, hats, pipes, girlie books, shoes and various items from their lives. My mother Sophia, ever frugal, would never throw anything away and store the items in a big box in the basement. Every so often I would take items from the basement and use them in skits and in art projects.

This practice of integrating found objects into my art has continued to this day. I find discarded objects behind my studio, along the railroad tracks, behind the old warehouses and along the lake. These items add texture, color and I believe, history to my art. The object’s story continues to live.

I rarely have a preconceived idea of what the finished product will be. Many times the process or exploration is the finished product."