The healing arts
Tom Moberg is an artist in his prime. A Midwesterner, his unique approach to three-dimensional plaster sculpture is eye-catching, and his “healing trees” and landscapes are showcased today in hospitals, hospices, and corporate settings throughout the United States, offering individuals and families signs of life, encouragement, and hope.
The father of eight children, Moberg works out of Moberg Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in Des Moines, Iowa. His artistic family includes his wife and daughter-in-law, both named Jackie, and son, TJ, also an artist. The gallery, located near the state capitol, has grown rapidly in recent years and now represents more than 50 artists throughout the Midwest.
Since images of his artwork first appeared in HEALTHCARE DESIGN magazine (“The Healing Trees,” January, 2008), Tom's growing reputation has helped Moberg Gallery place commissioned artwork in healthcare communities throughout the country including, but not limited to, Rogers, Arkansas; Hondo, Texas; Volusia-Flagler, Florida; and Beverly Hills, California. The gallery has also placed custom artwork closer to home, including the Iowa cities of Creston, Pella, Marshalltown, Newton, and Des Moines.
Tom Moberg began his artistic career nearly three decades ago and describes his artwork in simple terms, saying “although my style and medium are contemporary in concept, my artistic love is basically traditional subject matter”. His mural landscape at Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston, Iowa, reflects his philosophy, depicting a local setting resplendent with silos, trains, and hot-air balloons. In Rogers, Arkansas, the delicate branches of a tree limb ascend gracefully to the top of a foyer, and at Mercy Medical Center in Hondo, Texas, a “donor tree” delicately adorns the wall of a room at Medina Community Hospital. His work also brings a sense of warmth to a surgical waiting room at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
For Moberg, whose childhood drawings of nature and trees led to a career, the creation and installation of each project offers inspiration: “I get a surge of creativity when I walk into a room and see a space where I'll be creating artwork. These large, open spaces can be so exhilarating, and my mind races with ideas about how to create a warm, timeless piece of art that will have a positive effect on the lives of others.”
TJ Moberg, Tom's son, is less traditional than his father. TJ and one of his medical clients, Dr. Thom Lobe of Beneveda Energy Clinic in Beverly Hills, California, are both fascinated with color. TJ, whose three-dimensional artwork is displayed on a wall in Lobe's clinic, says his art is an “exploration into the potentials of healing with color”.
Dr. Lobe, an energy revitalization specialist, has created the “Beneveda Gallery” at the clinic showcasing art selected for its energetic influence. “It is a well-known fact,” Lobe says, “that our mood is profoundly affected by color. This forms the basis of Color Therapy. Certain colors lift up your spirits and others tone you down. We can specifically determine which colors resonate with your energetic needs. If there's a piece of artwork you like, we can actually measure what's going on energetically inside you to determine what attracts you to a specific piece of art. It's healing”.
Jackie Moberg, TJ's wife, and co-owner of the gallery, says Tom, TJ, and their stable of artists offer great value to the healthcare community, even in today's challenging economic climate. “We are sensitive to budget restraints,” Jackie says, “and design our projects to be done on time and on budget. Moberg Gallery has the ability to select the right artist for a specific project based on the client's needs and budget”.
Tom, the family patriarch, has been featured on ABC-TV and the HGTV series Modern Masters. A “traditionalist” whose work, even he admits, is still evolving. “Earlier in my career,” Moberg says, “I was steadfast in my attitude to stay pure to the gypsum medium. Now, I mix lightweight concrete and a host of other products into the artwork. It gives me greater flexibility to create more complex artwork such as running waterfalls and free-standing objects in my murals and hangings. Listening to my client's ideas and tastes, I am able to create an art piece that is personal for them and esthetically appealing. Although my style and medium are contemporary in concept, my artistic love is traditional subject matter”.
The beneficiaries, of course, of the collective “healing art” of Tom Moberg and his family, are the patients, families, and caregivers around the country who now experience the color, warmth, and wonder of each commissioned piece. “They seem to welcome the visual and emotional stimulation my trees and landscapes offer,” Tom says, “and that itself is heart-warming, at least to me.” HD
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