“I'm from upper Cecil Street in the city centre and grew up over my parent’s public house, Tom Collins' Bar.”
Creativity and culture has always been a part of Tom’s life, “Many of the customers that frequented the bar had creative backgrounds such as poets, writers, musicians and art college students,” and with two older siblings working as interior designers (and one working as a fine art painter) it is no wonder Tom went into the arts himself.
“I lived abroad in the late 80s and early 90s and also in Cork City for several years and never thought I'd move back to Limerick. Ultimately you live where you feel you belong and I suppose I belong here close to family and friends.”
Tom is a well-known local sign maker making signs for small business and independent retailers. He also made the window graphics for the Limerick 2020 bid that you can see in the windows of various businesses in the city. “I assist emerging and established artists with gilded finishes for sculptural and art installation projects and occasionally non-profit sign writing appreciation workshops and exhibitions.” Tom also co-hosts a podcast called “Coffee with a Sign Painter” on iTunes that has an audience of 32,000 subscribers in 87 countries!
Culture plays an important role in Tom’s life, “a lot of my work is based around the hospitality sector so I get to experience it first-hand. I also like to visit the city’s galleries every month and drop by friend’s studios that are working in various creative disciplines.”
When not working, Tom likes to go kayaking with his son around the city, “the River Shannon has such amazing scenery and wildlife near where I live. All around the University of Limerick is really beautiful with great walks that lead you further out into the countryside.”
Speaking about the bid Tom hopes to see more large scale street theatre and job opportunities in the Limerick arts sector. “Already you can see the moral boost impact of the bid and a growing awareness of just how much the city has to offer and our unique take on what culture is.”