Tom Bacher Goes for the Glow

Studio Tour Tom Bacher Goes for the Glow

For most artists, when the lights go off, the paint brush goes down. But for Ohio based painter Tom Bacher, art comes alive in the dark. For over 40 years Tom has been experimenting with phosphorescent paints to create landscapes that not only shine in the light but glow in the dark, transitioning from day to night right in front of your eyes.

A Tom Bacher painting changing color as lights are dimmed

We spoke to Tom while he was the artist in residence at W Retreat & Spa – Maldives, teaching guests his radiant painting techniques and soaking up the luminous surroundings from sunrise to sunset. Using his words and his paints Tom sheds some light on his process, inspirations and the life-changing experience he had in The Maldives.

Tom Bacher in front of his glowing work

What inspires you?


Tom Bacher: I get inspired by light. Sunsets, city lights, reflections, etc. Like the impressionists painted sunlight images as seen during the day, I paint the night time images you see in the dark and by using luminous pigments, are the can capture the night light.

How did you begin working with these types of paints?


TB: I got the idea to make luminous paintings 40 years ago. I was always fascinated with plastic toys that glowed in the dark and figured that whatever made plastic toys glow, maybe I could make acrylic paints glow as well. I found out what the glow chemical was and tried mixing it with paints and it worked! Since that moment, 40 years ago, every piece of art I ever made since has glowed in the dark.

What will you take away after your residency at W Retreat & Spa – Maldives?


TB: Being here at the W has been a life transforming experience for me by inspiring me to get in better shape. Seeing a place in the world as beautiful as this has shown me a part of myself I forgot I had and it has inspired me to live a healthier lifestyle! In return, I am a more inspired artist. It just doesn’t get any better than making luminous art inspired by a luminous part of the world.

A painting from Tom's residency at W Retreat & Spa - Maldives

What’s the best advice you’ve been given as an artist?

Believe in yourself


What’s one word to describe your work?


TB: New


What place inspires you?




Favorite letter?



Want more glow? Check out our studio tour with Lite Brite Neon, the makers behind the neon bar at W New York – Times Square.