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Tom Glynn is a rare breed: an artist who can move effortlessly between artforms, materials, scales and registers, equally adept at making miniature paintings and monumental sculptures. And yet all of his work is unmistakably English in mood. His images are populated by the country’s Neolithic monuments and pastoral landscapes, and informed by the many artists who inhabited those places before him. Glynn is driven by the same Romantic spirit that motivated Palmer and Turner, Nash and Piper, Wallis, Lanyon and Hockney, but his art is never anything but his own. It is, after all, underpinned by an urge that has coursed through his veins since he first stepped foot in a sandpit.Dr. James Fox | British Art Historian & Broadcaster
What is your overall outlook on how the art market is changing?
I am aware that over the last decade or so, more and more galleries are becoming increasingly dependent upon significant developments in digital art. There has been an increasing amount of virtual exhibitions, AI, computer generated images, virtual reality through an interface with technical tools and processes. In addition, there is a growing interest and reliance upon NFT’s. Having said that, I am reassured that while our digital age develops and we all become more dependent upon this way of life, there are still many galleries in the UK and worldwide that continue to show the physical work of artists irrespective of the form or media used.
I am also most aware of how the work frequently selected by some of the worlds most well known and prestigious galleries and museums has become increasingly diverse, which is to be expected, but personally I very much hope this will not become the exception in respect of the continuation of traditional Fine Art, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Photography and Mixed-Media work being exhibited in real – physical galleries and spaces; not just ones that exist in the ether or even potentially in a gallery hologram, if I may describe it this way. It has to be said though that great art can be appreciated, felt and create emotion irrespective of whether it is accessed physically or digitally.
Do NFTs interest you as an artist?
I delight in utilizing traditional artistic materials and mediums such as canvas, paint, wood, clay, plaster of Paris and so many other sourced materials found around us in both the natural and built environments. As a result of this, I don’t make digital art and my focus isn’t to turn my work into NFTs. However, if a dealer or gallery wanted my work to be more generally available through NFT’s I wouldn’t of course object. Ultimately it’s my desire to have my paintings, sculptures, and assemblages seen in real space and time, rather than repurposed through a digital medium. A painting and sculpture exist as real and tangible things, rather than digital representations, even though they can also have their own artistic value.
What advice would you give to new artists that wish to make art their career?
Work continuously, be dedicated and hard-working with passion and never give up as the art world is notoriously competitive. Develop and practice techniques and develop competency and confidence in using materials and mediums. Constantly explore visual ideas intelligently, reviewing and reorganizing. Develop a deep knowledge of the visual language and develop an immersive understanding and knowledge of the basic elements that in part form an essential visual language. Be independent and original and know when you are working that you reveal the truth and honesty in the artwork produced. Furthermore, be able to make a critical analysis of your own work and the work of others.
There are so many artists today creating amazing art in a vast array of mediums and styles, do you ever feel the pressure of competition?
There is always a sense of a vast array of mediums and styles in art, especially modern and contemporary art. There’s hardly a material or medium that’s not been used and I am reminded of Chris Ofili, who incorporated elephant dung into one of his large paintings on canvas. I have never felt the pressure of competition in respect of mediums and styles or felt obliged to use a particular style or medium. I have gradually evolved my own combination of materials and approaches over many decades, always dependent upon the theme and subject I am depicting.
For example, more recently I have often applied layers of wood ash onto PVA laid down onto a large canvas, before applying thinned washes of acrylic paint, followed by other applied textures and layers of paint. My paintings are often built up in this way. I have also recently acquired some diamond dust that will be incorporated within one of my current large abstract landscape paintings.
In your opinion, what is the primary skill set one must possess to be a good artist?
While I am convinced it helps to have an extensive knowledge of art, art history, artists and art practice, it is also essential to develop a significant ability and understanding of the Visual Language and seek ways to express one’s own visual ideas in a meaningful and truthful manner, providing insight and meaning within the work executed. Technique and developing strategies to apply and manipulate media (such as paint and mixed-media) I would suggest is essential – even in a rapidly developing digital art world – as I believe we shouldn’t forget our traditions or early beginnings. Drawing has always been a key starting point, but this doesn’t have to be an academic or photorealist entity or style, rather – as in Paul Klee’s Pedagogical Sketch Book – “taking a line for a walk”.
What types of art do you like to surround yourself with?
I certainly surround myself with a large collection of my own work and I can reveal that my house is full of my paintings, sculptures and assemblages. I also have some work by a celebrated modern ceramic artist, Sandy Brown, a conte crayon drawing by David Nash, paintings by the St. Ives artist Neil Canning, some paintings from my tutors at art school, including Robin Ball, Harold Cheeseman, Michael Fairclough and Brian Ingham, a large double portrait sculpture depicting August and Camille. (ref: Rodin) in herculite plaster by Emma Pover amongst many others. Essentially, my extensive collection comprises work by modern and contemporary artists, including some figurative sculptures by the British Portrait Sculptor, Suzie Zamit, who also produced a magnificent full size bronze portrait head of my late mother.
Who are your favourite artists and what works of art influenced you the most – and why?
I have always been fascinated, intrigued and in awe of the work of Picasso, Matisse, Arp and Brancusi and I have previously described how I have grown up with them as though my friends. In addition, there are many other modern and contemporary artists that have also influenced me, such as Anthony Caro, Joseph Cornell, Jackson Pollock, David Hockney, Paul Nash, Peter Lanyon and Leon Kossoff. I have previously mentioned Louise Nevelson, who I have always admired; a truly amazing woman and a fabulously sublime artist whose work is visually exciting, inventive and inspiring.
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