Tom’s art blossoms out of the ashes

Tasmanian copper Art

Tom’s art blossoms out of the ashes

February 2016 | David Claridge

WHEN YOU ENTER the Tasmanian Copper and Metal Art Gallery in Carrick on Church Street you are right away captivated by the countless pieces of metal artwork lining the walls and shelves.

This art is the tireless efforts of a family whose story started in the Czech Republic – a man named Mirek Marik came to Australia to live in the land of opportunity.

After living in Sydney, Mirek eventually chose Carrick, Tasmania – a place he loved – to set up shop because he wanted to make his art away from Launceston but still be close enough to it.

A large, old desiccated brick structure looms over the cottage store. This 120 year-old building, known as Archer’s Folly, was the old gallery, studio and workshop. Catching fire in 1978, it, Mirek’s tools and materials, along with all of his hard work, were destroyed.

That did not stop him though. He started again from nothing.

In the 1980s Mirek’s creations featured in the Bicentennial Art Exhibition in Brisbane, alongside work by Pro Hart, Sidney Nolan, John Glover and Arthur Boyd.

To everyone’s surprise, his son Tom came back and took up his business. When Mirek passed away in 2000, Tom has kept it running to this day with his wife Gail by his side.

“I came into (it) when I was 21. I left the job I was in and came to work with dad,” Tom said. “Being an only child, I thought I should take the opportunity to learn from him in case something happened.”

He had the good fortune of working with him for five years before Mirek passed away.

“My father always tinkered with metal as a young person in between jobs in Europe,” he added. “He had a creative flair. He could draw really well and always had a fascination for it.”

Looking through the gallery today you can see Tom’s creative range – from Tasmanian icons such as the Devil and Tiger, the Defender, to even blue wrens and jewellery.

“I make art on demand as well as from customer feedback,” he shared.

“Two years ago I bought myself a computerised plasma cutter,” he enthused. “It has enabled me to do house signs, names – such as (that used in) Nick’s Bar. I can do that in stainless or rusted. Or I can paint it.”

In addition, his gallery has a range of other gift lines that he does not make – “such as three dimensional free standing birds, wind chimes, ornamental knives and swords”.

The gallery is open Monday to Friday every week from 10.00am to 4.00pm, or beyond by appointment. On 5th March from 10.00am to 3.00pm, you can enjoy 20% off all purchases.

Tom is also willing to talk to shops interested in selling his artwork. Contact the gallery on 6393 6440 or visit www. tascoppermetalart.com.

 

 Mike Moores