Our Memorial Show for the late Tom Buechner ends today. As part of this show, we have been running essays from Tom’s students and painting companions who participated in a accompanying show that paid tribute to Tom’s presence in their art and lives. We will continue running this series of essays for the next few weeks.
Today’s essay is from Justine Jividen.
Tom Buechner was a role model for me before I even met him. Like most children in Corning, my early years were filled with trips to local museums, galleries and art venues where I regularly heard Tom’s name and saw his work. I knew Tom not only was an immensely skilled painter, but he was a driving force behind all of the arts organizations that I had benefited from as a youth and as a young adult. In 2007, Dave Higgins asked if I would be interested in studying painting with Tom, and I was elated to have the chance to work with someone I’d admired for such a long time.
Tom and I instantly became friends. He loved to talk; the exchanging of stories, thoughts, and ideas were exciting to Tom, and he was genuinely interested in knowing what people around him had to say. I think everyone who painted on Friday nights looked forward to the break-time discussions, perhaps even more than the time we spent painting. On the weekend gatherings, everyone looked forward to having a drink with Tom at the end of the painting session (being too young to drink, I sadly never got to enjoy a martini with Tom, but each time I do have one, I will always think of him).
I only knew Tom for three years, but I couldn’t be more grateful for that time. I learned so much from Tom. He helped me to develop both my work and myself, and he has served as an example of the kind of person that I hope to be someday. Tom was the driving force behind an entire community of artists. Our city would not be what it is today without Tom. For that reason, we should keep Tom Buechner present in our thoughts and actions, for our sake and for the sake of the whole community.