Tommy Nienaber - Interview
Tommy Nienaber’s artistic story is an example of how a life tragedy transformed into a beautiful skill which could be shared with the world.
“I discovered my talent of sculpting by accident,” Tommy Nienaber remembers. “Literally.” Fifteen years ago, Nienaber found himself hospitalized after a house fire burned 40 percent of his body, the worst felt in his arms and hands. As the doctor suggested, Nienaber used art as a form of therapy. Carving small samples of wood on his parents’ back porch shaped into a fascination of sculptural possibilities with the use of a chisel, hammer, jigsaw and sandpaper.
Today, Nienaber enjoys full movement of his arms and hands, moving deftly to create pieces inspired by both deep, full baseline music and his wife. “She is my best and most precious inspiration. Every time she is with me, I am influenced by her.”
Nienaber carves many pieces under the moon’s glow, so it’s unsurprising “Red Moon” pays tribute to his lunar lamp and the particularly rare stone itself, translucent orange alabaster. The stone, nearly perfection without fissures or fractures, hides in a closed Utah quarry.
This artist hopes patients and loved ones realize that faith, love and physical therapy are imperative keys in overcoming difficult obstacles. “My art is an extension of my soul, and it physically makes up a vast, ever-changing timeline of my recovery and beyond.”