From the beginning to today

Since its introduction to the European-colonized world, during the 16th century, by the Spanish who encountered it from the contact with the Aztec during their colonization of the Americas, the tomato became a pretty common food through diverse ways, raw or cooked, in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. Considered a “culinary vegetable” because of its much lower sugar content than culinary fruits, over time, thanks to its forms and essence, our red friend started to inspire artists and enthusiasts from all around the world.

Began in 2003, in East Nashville, Tennessee, as an art show celebrating the tomato, the annual Tomato Art Fest has turned into a wacky and wonderful event-filled weekend for some 40,000-plus locals and out-of-towners. The motivation for such an atypical art exhibit was pragmatic. “I knew I needed to do an art show in August. Tomatoes love the heat. So in a tongue-in-cheek way we decided to host the Tomato Art Fest,” says Meg MacFadyen, founder of the festival, together with her husband Bret. Another big event, dates right back to 1945, and which has less to do with art, is La Tomatina, a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, in the East of Spain, in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in a tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes.

La Tomatina – August 2010, Buñol, Spain

Abbey Road – John Cannon

Campbell’s Soup Can (Tomato) – Andy Warhol

Sun Dried Tomatoes – Beata Czyzowska Young

Tomato Boy – Dixie Redmond

Mt. Tomatomore – John Cannon

Tomato Art Fest, East Nashville, TN

Tomato Man on the Subway

Ripe Tomato (kanjuku tomato), a cutting-edge hairstyle created by Hiro of Osaka-based salon Trick Store

2014 Tomato Arts Festival, Nashville, TN Photo Steve Cross

Escalade – Poivre

Adornment – Vicki Sawyer

The Great East Nashville Tormado – John Cannon

2015 Tomato Arts Festival, Nashville, TN


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