Before we talk about your studio, tell us abour yourself as an artist.
Intellectually, my work is based on 11th century Byzantine iconography in terms of how I’m dealing with the space and for formal issues of the painting. Probably the most important aspects of my paintings is that if children respond well to my work then I know I’m on the right track. I believe that when I get to jury children’s shows, the kids who create work without any formal training have the most magical pieces of art. So with that, I want my paintings to feel like they just happened and that a child could have ultimately created them.
Where is your studio located?
It’s located off site and away from where I live. I have had studios in home, but much prefer having one at a separate location – it’s important to “go to work”. No distractions…like thinking about doing laundry, etc.
What are the most important elements of your studio?
Distance, height, breadth. I need to be able to get back from an eight foot painting and be able to see the whole thing without shifting the focus of your eyes. Having a good distance between where I mix my paint and where I view my painting is important.
How do you handle storage?
Storage is an issue, which I’m having now. I do try to actively exhibit so work would be actively moving in and out of my studio. But over the last couple of years, that’s been slowing down. Because I work so large, which I don’t want to change, it becomes even more of an issue. Right now I have a couple rooms in my studio that I use to store my paintings.
Any tips for studio organization?
I tend to be very organized. Try to keep the paints you need on hand and so you can focus on creating art rather than continually running to the art supply store. Now there may be a layer of dust on everything but it will be organized and ready for you to create.
What advice would you give to a new artist?
Is it too late to change your occupation? (laughing) But really, it is hard work and you need to be dedicated to your work. As Lois Bourgeois said ” There’s no virtue in wanting to be an artist but there’s a lot of virtue in being one.” You have to be committed to it and it’s a lifestyle not a 9 to 5 thing.
Any favorite books you like to keep in your studio library?
The books I go to most are on reptiles, birds, fish and reefs.
Find out more about Tom at Kai Lin Art Gallery
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