KNOXVILLE, Ill. — Tom Lytle began his work in the arts while studying at Eastern Illinois University, where he dabbled in forms such as painting, drawing and photography. However, he found that more and more he was turning toward sculpting for a method of stress relief and creative flow. He eventually gave in to the art form and started to focus on honing his sculpting technique.
“It was something that I honestly loved doing, and I thought I was fairly good at it,” Lytle said. “I found that sculpting sort of became its own animal.”
The three-dimensional, physical aspect of sculpting a figure was something Lytle had to come to terms with as an artist. He began to work more with metal as a material in his sculpting work through welding and molding.
For much of his start in the field, Lytle stayed within the realm of figurative work in his steel pieces. After 15 years in this process, he began to take a step into more abstract forms and try to see what he could make with his own interpretations. He explained that this took some confidence to begin with, due to the highly difficult field that abstract art can require. However, he feels much more confident now in his ability.
Some of his inspirations in the art form include work by renowned swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti and English sculptor Henry Moore. Though the two artists have separate styles comparatively, Lytle finds himself taking time to combine and balance the two styles to try and create something interesting.
One of the reasons Lytle has turned toward metal sculpting, rather than forms such as wood or clay, is the permanence of the material. He feels that the pieces he creates will have the longevity to leave something of a legacy.
One of the many pieces he feels proudly of is titled “Unity,” and it sits outside Dick Blick between Knoxville and Galesburg.
Lytle is now retired from teaching, though he has continued with his personal work and submitting to shows around the area.
“I’m hot and cold with work, it just depends,” Lytle said. “Just over a year and a half ago, I spent three months over in Santa Fe, where I moved my studio for figurative work in steel and copper.”
Though Lytle has procured an array of finished pieces, he said his favorite will always be the next one. If he had to choose, he said one piece that comes to mind is titled “The Girl Down the Street.”
The piece is of a young girl jumping rope, and Lytle described the scene from which it was inspired. He recalls a memory from when he was a young boy watching a girl slightly older than himself jump rope down the street. This memory triggered a desire to create the piece, which has remained one of the more meaningful creations he has finished.
“I remember thinking that she didn’t know who I was and didn’t care who I was, but to me she was a goddess who floated by,” Lytle said.
Lytle already has work planned for the future, including some smaller commission pieces from interested buyers in the area. He’ll have a show in Monmouth within the next year, which will be his first showing in some time. Even though his current priority is to focus on family life, Lytle sees himself continuing to sculpt and create art for the foreseeable future.
Source: The (Galesburg) Register-Mail, http://bit.ly/2vyAPNA
Information from: The Register-Mail, http://www.register-mail.com
This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by The (Galesburg) Register-Mail.