New Hire: Tom Fisher


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What is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities?

Multimedia Producer. I plan, shoot, and edit videos that can be found in and around CMOA’s exhibitions and on the museum’s Vimeo channel. These videos include event documentation and original works like the Hillman Photography Initiative’s Invisible Photograph series. I also work closely with my supervisor Jeff Inscho to help organize and archive the museum’s digital assets.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?

In May I graduated from the Filmmaking Intensive at Pittsburgh Filmmakers. I’ve since been freelancing and was fortunate enough to intern with CMOA’s Multimedia Department. I’ve also spent the last two years working in a photo lab. Yes, people still shoot on film. Yes, people take ‘selfies’ with disposable cameras.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)?

Probably the Small Prints, Big Artists exhibition here at CMOA. I’ve always loved all things tedious and detail-oriented, and immediately took to my etching course at Pitt. The printmaking process is extremely delicate and micro-level, but a well-crafted plate can yield prints that feel indelible and monumental. The amazing amount of depth and detail relative to the scale of the ‘small’ prints is a balance that I strive for when working in any medium. I’ve also enjoyed watching visitors of the exhibition try to maintain ‘safe’ distance while standing only inches away from the tiny, alluring masterworks.

If you could steal one artwork from our collection, what would it be?

The Broken Wagon (1844) by Eugene Louis Gabriel Isabey. When getting my Studio Arts BA, I was assigned to write about an artwork from CMOA’s collection. I chose The Broken Wagon because I was struck by its texture and because it was just random enough to guarantee that no one else would write about it. Though it depicts a scene from a dusty frontier-looking town using lots of dry, neutral colors, Wagon strangely has a very wet feel to it. Not only are some of the brushstrokes visible, but the looseness of Isabey’s hand is really apparent in the warped edges of the buildings. There’s still a surprising amount of definition given the lack of hard lines, so the overall effect is that everything kind of looks like it’s melting.

The Broken Wagon would be a fun piece to steal given its relative obscurity and placement in the Scaife Galleries. If it was removed, the hole created in the almost puzzle-like arrangement of paintings would be instantly noticeable, but I doubt anyone (except for the curators) would immediately be like: “Oh, no! Eugene Louis Gabriel Isabey’s The Broken Wagon is missing!”

Five things you can’t live without?

Family. Memory. A Pencil. Water. Oxygen.

Describe Pittsburgh in five words or less.

Home.

Favorite hobbies? Or any other projects you’d like to share?

I enjoy creating, consuming, and discussing not just film and video, but all and any forms of art and/or media. I try to spend whatever free time I can get walking around outside to counter the amount of time I spend staring at texts and screens. I’m currently finishing post-production on a short film that I hope to get out to festivals soon.