Tom Torluemke is among today’s rare contemporary artists who successfully weave together three primary artistic goals: to communicate with the laborer as well as the intellectual, to make images that are relevant, and to challenge and satisfy oneself formally as an artist. Torluemke’s proposed mural for the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library epitomizes these goals. His previous mural projects, manifested in the tradition of Social Realism begun in the 1930s, reflect his dedication to a higher purpose of elevating people in the context of their humanistic relationships in communities.
Torluemke’s proposed IMCPL mural project evolved from extensive research on Indianapolis’ early history during the time of the Industrial Revolution. He examined the urbanization of midwestern towns such as Indianapolis as chronicled in history texts and fictionalized in literature. Two prominent Indiana authors of the early 20th century, Theodore Dreiser and Booth Tarkington, captured Torluemke’s imagination early in the process.
– excerpt from essay by Juliana Thibodeaux, 2008