Tomé with Markus in front of his drawn Portrait at the exhibition in Gersthofen 2012
Tomé Thomas Etzensperger, was born 25th May 1958 in Zürich/Switzerland and grew up in the middle of high mountains near the famous and impressive Matterhorn, where he graduated for his university-entrance diploma. He has an elder sister and a younger brother.
Since 1975 he was chief illustrator of the students magazine „Reflex“ and three years later he published his Cartoons regularly in the daily Swiss newspaper „Walliser Bote“.
1978 – 1983
He studied medicine at the University of Fribourg in the French part of Switzerland, but then changed his course of studies and became a graphic designer. His diploma dissertation consisted of four cartoon books - „Tomé s exeptionally unbearables“ - which were published in Germany. He studied animation film with Prof.O.O.Uhlig in Augsburg/Germany.
1983 - 1984 Exclusive „Drawing correspondent“ for a Swiss newspaper in Asia, where he also begun to draw children.
1983 – 1995
As a free lance cartoonist, he published several cartoon books, political cartoons, funny posters and more than 1´000 daily comic-strips of his series „PiPO“ for magazines and newspapers in Switzerland, Germany and USA. He took part at several exhibitions and with his film „Psycho Chicken“ at the international animation film festival of Annecy in France.
1995 – 1998
Tomé studied again at the university of Augsburg and got a teaching degree for secondary schools. He is an art teacher since then for children from 10 to 17 years.
In the castle of Rieneck he rebegun to draw children portraits and edified a catalogue raisonne, beginning with „1“. Meanwhile Tomé has drawn and painted more than 3´700 children from small size up to the size of 20 m².
18th March 2011
Inauguration/ opening of
„Tomé s Children Portrait Museum“
in Augsburg / Germany. Visit of Indian child filmstar Hemang („Harun Arun“) with his filmcrew.
The artist works for UNICEF and other children organizations on children´s causes.
Exhibitions and actions:
– Augsburg Peace Marathon with different red hand actions with his children against the abuse of children as child soldiers
– On 21 levels at the tower race in the students residential home in Lechhausen „The child in happiness and misery“
– Primary school Meitingen (48 oversized children and eye portraits)
– exhibition for UNICEF „The Red Hand“
12.2. Exhibition at the 10th international „Red Hand Day“ at the junior high school Gersthofen
1.-17. Juni: Exhibition of 300 drawings in the Castle of Leuk in Switzerland
Radio Program „Zum Kaffee“ / Radio „Rottu“
Public drawing for the children of the „sos children´s village“
Ambassador for the children aid organization „Oberwallis helps children in this world“
4.-5. August red hand actions at the 2.Augsburg peace marathon
28.10. Foundation of the international artists group „Augsburger Konzil“ in the Balloonfactory Augsburg
25.11. Exhibition in the Balloonfactory Augsburg against the draft law of the German government for the legalization of circumcision of boys and exhibition under the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin / receipt of a letter of the President of the federal president of Germany
16./17.3. Augsburg Open
20./21.4. Exhibition in the Culture Park West in Augsburg
3.-5.Mai: Exhibition in the monastery Oberschönenfeld
10.8. until October: The children on the island Buchau in the Staffellake
30.9. bis 2.11. „Red Hand in the Tower“ in the Augsburg town landmark Perlachturm at the 25th Perlachtowerrace
13.11.13 - Febr.2014 - 143 Kinderportraitdrawings in the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) in three houses
12.2. until March: Exhibition of more than 300 drawings at the 12th international Red Hand Day in the public library of Augsburg
April: Public drawing of cartoons for the disabled and sick children of the „Colored Circle“ at the spring fair “afa“ in Augsburg
Oktober: Big Eyes in the tower of Augsburg
February: Red Hand Action with children of elementary schools at the public library of Augsburg and at the junior high school Gersthofen
August: Red Hand action against the abuse of children as child soldiers and violence against children at the Run for Peace 30 K
Exhibition with drawings about children in war in the primary and Middle school am Eichenwald
Tomé lives in Augsburg / Bavaria / Germany since 1979. He is married and has two wonderful sons, Raphael and Emanuel whom he has often portrayed. There are 13 portrait books of him, countless cartoons and more than 3´000 drawings of children.
• Daily newspapers in Switzerland, Germany, India and USA as:
• Weltwoche - Bild – Walliser Bote – Berner Zeitung – Radio Rottu / Switzerland
• Neusässer – Meitinger - Augsburger Allgemeine – Stadtzeitung - Neue Szene – Gersthofer – Augsburg TV/ Germany
• Tomorrows Comics - Press Community / USA etc...
Just some words of the artist himself:
1976 /Tasaday boy
This Tasaday boy was THE VERY FIRST child that I have EVER drawn – that was in 1976, when I was 18 years old... my beginning to say so... that´s now 40 years ago and my older sister drew this very same boy as a kind of drawing competition, too... she lost her drawing, but I still have mine and I even redrew it in 2012 and the portrait of this boy is also painted on my kayak. We found the foto in the „National Geographic Magazines“ of our father that he got every month from America..., this magazines were my inspirations at that time, I grew up with them, and although at that time I could not read the English written texts I just LOVED the fotos and especially the drawings of the ancient people of history and the wonderful drawings of nature, the dinosaurs, the universe and everything imaginable. I still have the complete National Geographic magazines since 1955, high-class cloth-bound into two heavy books for each year. This Tasaday boy belonged to the "Stone age cavemen" of Mindanao on the Philippines, a tribe who had been discovered only 1972 and this boy was looking into the lens of that camera of this white man, never having seen a white man before, not knowing that from that day on his whole life would change. Both me and my sister were very impressed by his look. Looking back at this drawing today, it makes me kind of sad, because it is also a symbol of destroying the natural and innocent life of other human beings by the „White man“.
So I drew this boy because of his eyes, and because of his innocence and perfect beauty. The artist always seems to seach for the „ultimate beauty“. Well...these children´s eyes always touched me ever since! That´s why the face and the eyes of my children that I draw are so important to me and the biggest compliment I ever got was by a father who told me that I really cought the soul of his son Samuel in my drawing. I drew this very special boy Samuel when he was twelve years old and meanwhile he has grown up and I have drawn his wonderful daughter, too. When you want to be able to capture the soul of someone in his eyes I believe that you have to love this person. Children to me are the most precious „creatures“ imaginable, they are our future and they deserve it that you take them and their dreams for serious. But they are also beautiful and admirable, and that´s why I also draw the natural beauty of children because people only want to protect what they recognize as being beautiful. But on the other hand I also draw the war children, the abused children and even the tortured and dead ones, and these children portrait drawings may be disturbing for the people who look at them, but for me it is important to diusturb the souls of people, to make them think and it is extremely important for me not to forget these children who have to live in misery, suffer starvation and poverty, are beaten to death by their parents or fight in wars for adults– but even here you can discover a smile and the beauty of these children. No adult can laugh and look at you as a child so naturally does all the time.
Tomé June 2016
This is in English language, too:
Three things are left from paradise:
The stars of the night,
the flowers of the day
and the eyes of the children.
(Dante Aligheri 1265 - 1321)
Tasaday Boy / drawn 1976