Friday, May 15, 2009
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My dear friend, Thom Klika, a.k.a. "The Rainbow Man," died on Sunday May 3. Thom was an incredible artist who lived his last years creating art in Oxford. In the late 1960s he began to paint rainbows as "pocket art." He painted little 2-inch squares, popped them in his pocket, then walked around and gave them away to anyone he met. One person plus one rainbow equaled a movement. Thom has painted and given away millions of rainbows, and brought smiles, love, hope, and cheer to many a heart. During the two weeks prior to his death he completed a new series of rainbow collages that reflect a renaissance of spirit.
Thom was a true American folk artist. He had two books published by St. Martin's press, and is represented in the Folk Art Museum of the Smithsonian, The Museum of Modern Art, the National Geographic 1976 Bicentennial Edition, and many other galleries and collections. In 1972 he prepared a "For Our Children" poster for the McGovern presidential campaign. George P. Landow, professor of English and the History of Art, Brown University, wrote: "Thom Klika, 'the Rainbow Man' from Woodstock, N.Y., has done much to popularize the motif in paintings, books, and decorative arts, and in his work it appears more as a general image of nature's beauty and man's hope."
His wife, Mary, donated copies of his book "10,000 Rainbows" to each of the art teachers in the Newton County School System with the hope that art students will be inspired by his work.
Shelley Beth Yeatman