Tom is a young emerging artist from Melbourne. At the not so old age of 21, he is producing some beautiful geometric shape adorned canvases that are a sight for the eyes. As a teenager, Tom was really interested in graffiti and spent 6 years developing his skills. He explains: “I was really fortunate to have a back wall of our house facing a lane way which enabled me to paint graffiti almost everyday. I then finished school and was beginning to deal with the real world and more importantly the repercussions of doing illegal graffiti for over 6 years at that time.” Having an art studio for the last 3 and a half years has enabled Tom to progress and develop his fine art skills. He is now working on his first solo show and many other commercial projects.You can gain more of an insight into Tom’s world here.
What is your definition of creativity?
I find creativity to be a very broad thing, It can be literally anything at all. But it all starts from a certain way of thinking, a headspace that is different from the next persons.
Do you have a consistency to your process of creating? Or does it change according to your state of being?
I have somewhat of a consistency but it tends to vary from work to work. Sometimes I have a very basic idea of what I want to achieve but it takes a lot of polishing to get it to something I’m happy with. And other times I know exactly what I want to achieve and no planning is required at all; everything just falls into place and happens all too easy.
Describe your usual creative process…is their a routine to how you compile your work?
Every now and then I have an idea that is just too good for one piece. So it’s these ones that I look much deeper into and it will generally then form a body of work. This can take quite a bit of planning that I am constantly revising, tweaking and trying to improve. I will keep track of what I am doing and constantly be trying to improve it (as a whole) before I paint it.
Things that inform or feed your creativity…
It’s the everyday things that feed my creativity. I will see a scene from the train or something that catches my eye while I’m walking down the street. It may be a certain thought that gets me into that way of thinking and it’s on! But it’s never the same thing twice.
Who are your current influences?
At the moment, I am being influenced by Andy Goldsworthy and his work. But only because he is probably my favourite artist who is working with nature at the moment and I’m very influenced by Mother Nature.
Please choose a work and describe the process of that work from start to finish as an example:
The first task is to draw the piece onto the canvas, which can be a long or short process. Then, once I’m happy with the drawing and have looked at it enough, I can move onto painting. The drawing is essential, because if the drawing doesn’t look good its not going look good finished. I look for the piece to hold that certain magic element that is present in a good artwork. This is usually visible at this stage. But sometimes if I’m really confident in what I’m painting I won’t do a fully comprehensive drawing.Then I begin to fill in the shapes with colour; working slowly through a selected colour palate, mixing each colour as many possible ways as I can. Each shape is done to its fullest colour and could potentially be the only layer. I tend to work from the most detailed section to the least and completing the background last. Then once I have all the paint on the canvas I begin to go back over it cleaning it up and making sure that it is in a state I am happy with. This part can take as long if not longer than getting all the paint onto the canvas. After thorough study of the work I then decide if it is finished or not. I do not know how long this part can take. Its completed once I feel comfortable with it.
How do you begin, when starting with a blank canvas?
I try to avoid just sitting down with a blank canvas and seeing where it goes. I find this can be quite stressful so I’d rather work on the ideas mentally then get the canvas organised once I’m ready to start on something I am confident with. Otherwise it will lead to too many decisions that tend to be rushed through, resulting in a piece I’m not happy with.
Do you ever reflect on your work, via journaling etc to find out why you might have got stuck?
Yes I do, I keep a running journal. It’s a great way to keep check of progress and reflect on work. And to keep all those ideas in focus.
Have you ever experienced “artist block” and how have you overcome it?
Yeah sure. I have off days all the time, sometimes more than others, sometimes I don’t have them for a long time. I just get out of the studio and do other activities, ideally go down the coast have surf and just get back to nature. That process continues until it clicks back into gear, then I am stressing about not being in the studio making work! It’s a fine line.
Do dreams or other dream like experiences play a role in your creative process?
I have some dream like experiences that I like to then incorporate into my work, but I feel that these paintings will be never ending and feel like I am able to improve the work more and more. And I never get to an end with those works. I feel that dreams cannot be limited to a painting because it “caps” the dream. And dreams by nature are never limited.
Has the process of creation from any particular artist or artists that you might have read about, informed your approach to how you create your works?
Yes definitely. Seeing other artists’ work that is similar is always a good experience and then makes me reflect on how I work. There’s always a way to see something differently or to see what the result will be from doing it in a different manner. I think the overall process though is something that must be taken by you and crafted into something unique that works the best for yourself. Other people’s methods tend to not work so well for me.
It’s quite a personal thing that is vitally important in creating unique work.