Featured Artist: Tom Graffagnino

For these featured artist posts I normally try to produce a few words that introduce and throw some light on the artist’s work.  Today, we are going to do things a little differently.  Tom has graciously directed me to his reflections on his own art.  So, here are Tom’s words:

There is something within each of us that desperately longs for recognition, approval, acceptance, comfort and security. We do long to know and experience that something that is missing in our lives, that something that would give our lives ultimate meaning, value and worth.

Bottom line: we genuinely long to be truly loved.

I am persuaded that it is because of this persistent and universal longing,…. this sense of wonder… that causes the artist in all of us to stir. More importantly, I am also convinced that this same sense of nagging incompleteness is why all of humankind…from Boston to Borneo…is moved toward religion and worship. Indeed, it is from this need, this universally detected and profound longing, that all of man’s religions and philosophies spring. Regardless of his culture, his time in history, his degree of sophistication or cerebral “advancement”, man has desperately tried to answer the question “Why?”…. the “why of wonder

My faith in Christ has always been an initiating and motivating factor in my work over the years. And while the images I have produced during that time have not always been overtly or obviously “Christian”, my walk with the Lord has influenced my heart, my hand, and my eye in other “under the radar” ways.

The first quote comes from an essay titled Why I Wonder.  And the second quote comes from page on Tom’s blog title Just Thinking where one can link to several essays and reflections.

Untitled VI.  1977. Guache on Board.  8×10″.

Chamber II. 1985.  Mixed Media Collage.

Forest Hill I. 2001.

Clearly, there is something about the tree that is able to strike a deeply harmonious and aesthetic spiritual chord within us which can echo through the soul. Whether this be triggered by the stately majesty of an ancient Live Oak, the awesome grandeur of the giant Redwood, the glorious and explosive beauty of colorful autumn leaves or the Dogwood’s sublimely delicate appearance in the southern woods of early spring, “the tree” is able to stir us deeply. And I am convinced that this intrinsic, aesthetic power is purposefully designed and set in motion as if…somehow…we are being romanced by it.

An excerpt from Sentinels of Truth and Beauty

Charcoal #102.  2008.  5×8″


  • Jim Watkins is the assistant editor and a regular contributor at Transpositions. Originally, Jim is from southern California and southeastern Texas, but sometimes he feels most at home in the landscape and coffee shops of the Pacific Northwest. He met his wife Emily at Wheaton College in Illinois, where he studied Studio Art (concentration in painting). For his PhD research, he is examining the relationship between divine and human creativity from the perspective of divine kenosis.

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