29 May Reflective Color with Tom Fruin

Tom Fruin, Watertower, Brooklyn, New York

Tom Fruin, Artist

The team at Life-Styled by Stacy Garcia  spoke with artist Tom Fruin about his stained glass structures that sit juxtaposed to the landscapes around them. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Tom Fruin  creates lasting architectural installations in Urban areas that bring a bit of color and wonder to everyone who passes by.  

Tom Fruin, Glass House, Lake Nona, Florida

What is the concept behind your colorful, reclaimed plexi-glass structures?
The reclaimed acrylic sculptures are part of my ICON series in which I transform overlooked infrastructural and architectural archetypes into brightly colored fantastical structures – hopefully transforming one’s expectations and making the mundane into something memorable and transformative…. encouraging the viewer to take a second look! During the day, the sun blasts these structures into kaleidoscopes of color, while arduino-programmed lights make it into a beacon at night.”

What inspires the color schemes in each piece? How does this impact the experience of viewing your structures?
“This work is a progression from an earlier series of found object Quilts began in NYC in the 90’s in which I explored parks and housing projects, scouring and collecting all the detritus that seemed to indicate human behavior – I’d make notes and impressions on what I found, reorganize them, and sew into wall hangings. With the ICON series, I’m trying to do the same thing but with plexi – often using found materials in the cities in which the sculpture is located to reflect the local colors and vibe of the place.”

Tom Fruin, Watertower, Brooklyn, New York

Your work is featured in museums and public places all around the world. Where is your favorite spot that your work has been displayed?

“I’ve been lucky to be able to place my work in many great locations- The Kolonihavehus was great in Copenhagen on the waterfront near the “Black Diamond” library! It was transformed into something very sweet when paired with the Helsignor Castle in Sweden. I also liked it positioned in front of Museum Quartier, Vienna, it is a fairly rough area and the piece shined like a little jewel.”

“Probably the best location yet is Watertower 3, (R.V. Ingersoll Houses) in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is seen from from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and merges with the views in the distance of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan. I’m always getting emails from people thanking me for this respite from their commute!”


For the DUMBO Arts Festival, you installed your plexiglass house, Kolonihavehus, in Brooklyn Bridge Park and with the inclusion of a presentation by the performance duo, CoreAct. How does the addition of a performance duo enhance your design?

“When the Kolonihavehus house sculpture was installed in the Brooklyn Bridge park (as in all of its exhibitions throughout Europe), it was accompanied by a performance by CoreAct. The dancers enhanced the piece by adding layers of interaction – the audience would go inside and experience the piece in a mediated and playful way that encouraged investigating and thinking. The integrated sound and light system created an entirely new relation to the piece so one was able to experience it almost through someone else’s eyes!”

Tom Fruin, Watertower, Brooklyn, New York

What’s next?
I’m always looking for great and unexpected locations for these works! I’ve been imagining a Billboard sculpture for Los Angeles and have designs for a tall Smokestack piece -but really the possibilities are endless. Next up is a Plinth for a residential project in Virginia and a House sculpture for a park in Jeju, South Korea. I’ve also been playing with the idea of making mini version as wall sconces or desktop sculptures.”


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