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Cynthia Tom

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San Francisco

Birth year

Lives in
San Francisco

Works in


San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)

Representing galleries

exhibition/performance, surrealism, installation, mixed-media, figurative, woman artist, Chinese artist, chinese american artist, Asian Artist, Yerba buena Center artist, Chinese-contemporary, Asian American Women Artists Association, asian american artist, Cynthia Tom, Art in Storefronts mixed-media installation, San Francisco Arts Commission, Installations, feminist, female art, found object artist, lecturer on Asian American art, de young museum

Art Statement

Cynthia Tom is a visual multi-media artist, passionate about social justice, women’s issues and playing with the accepted norm. Surrealism is the platform for her ideas to ruminate, take form, solutions discovered and color to inspire.

    A seeker and philosopher about issues in her life, her ancestors and the community of women, she is inspired by dialog with friends and family, forming new themes and stories for her work. Collaboration and brainstorming are her playgrounds.


    Her work has been exhibited at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, the De Young Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and various other galleries from New York to Washington to San Francisco. She lectures on her work, issues related to women, feminism in the arts and Asian American women in the arts, most recently for the College Art Association’s Annual Conference.

 Cynthia is included in the text book, “Women Artists of the American West”, edited by Susan Ressler, University of Purdue and “Traces of Migration and In-Betweeness: Poetics and Politics in Post-colonial Asian Women Artists”, by Laura Fantone PhD, SF Art Institute ,University of Padua Press, Italy.  Cynthia is currently Board President, Exhibitions Curator and Programs Chair of AAWAA, Asian American Women Artists Association.

    A third-generation Chinese American, Cynthia draws inspiration from divergent

cultures. The resulting contradictions are expressed in a variety of ways. Eastern and Western symbols often share space on the same canvas. Fanciful dresses portray a prophetic wish for people to raise their consciousness and her strong female images evoke a longing for freedom of expression and a life of choice.

    Symbols, cues and clues fill her art, which is described as “Cultural Surrealism”.

Cynthia’s paintings and installations persuade us to look beyond the aesthetic--to challenge stereotypes and traditional roles, questioning paradigms and

 encourages our internal dialogue.


Recent Exhibits

Cynthia Tom participated in these exhibits:

Sep, 2016 Canto XXV, Installation and Performances, Stories to Tell, Discards and Variances Project Space and Reflections
Gallery Route One
Jul, 2016 Vision: An Artist's Perspective
Kaleid Gallery
May, 2014 How To Earn Your Cloud
Towers Gallery
May, 2014 Eating Cultures
SOMArts Cultural Center
May, 2013 underCurrents & the Quest for Space
SOMArts Cultural Center
Apr, 2012 Hungry Ghost: Yearning for Fulfillment
Thoreau Center for Sustainability
Click here to see all exhibits for Cynthia Tom

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