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Tom Hermann

‘Artists can ask the uncomfortable questions.’

Studio life can lead to isolation, how do you address this/ keep a balance?

Like a lot of artists I’m pretty comfortable with my own company, but my family responsibilities mean I’m forced out of the studio to pick kids up from school or after school activities. Occasionally facilitating and tutoring at workshops helps to connect with other artists. However I play basketball regularly to keep active both mentally and physically.

Describe a moment you had an epiphany concerning your creative life.

I had a moment last year where I was convinced I had missed the mark with what I thought I was trying to achieve a particular painting. In my efforts to feel like I was being clever and thought provoking I realised that I was not being authentic. It led to a massive re-evaluation not only of the piece but the direction of the work more generally. It is not a comfortable place to be, but it really is the only way to achieve the perspective one needs to grow as an artist. The result is the work I’m currently producing- more honest in its genesis and more resolute in its execution.

Understanding Tsering: Shadow and Light

Nature versus nurture: do you believe you have inherited abilities from creative parents, do you have creative siblings? Can you identify environmental factors or influences which led to your choices or directions?

While there are some artistic tendencies in my family history going back, it was not something generally within my generation. My brother and I both liked to draw and play Lego growing up, but we also both had fairly scientific inclinations as well. It’s probably why I gravitated towards realism- I liked to observe the universe as honestly

as possible. The tendency to observe might

have genetic origins- a slightly larger or more developed visual cortex perhaps, however I believe strongly in neuroplasticity and that the feedback mechanism of achieving positive reinforcement for those early childhood drawings, pictures and models led to furthering the development of those neurological pathways that then produced slightly better drawings the next time and so on.


How does your work respond to social trends?

I work in oil painting at the moment. I have dabbled in other media in the past as a student and I’m not against exploring significantly different media in the future. However I like the fact that oils are a medium that has been around for centuries; it is now so old as to have transcended what is fashionable yet I like to juxtapose this oldest of traditions with eminently contemporary subjects. The work I have planned for this year will particularly look at modern identities through the lens of this ancient story telling mode.

What do you hope to convey through your work?

I am looking to express the absolute truth of a moment as honestly as I can. In the many hours I spend making these high fidelity paintings I aim to stretch that moment and draw the viewer in to experience it.

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