Meet the Artist 2018: Tom Parker
Published: 30 May 2018
Taking part in Skipton Open Studios for the first time this year, Tom Parker is an artist from the UK working primarily in print. His work relies on an interest in process and action. Using strict self imposed method, works are allowed to create themselves through recursive gestures or to become the product left as the final output of a pre-dictated sequence. The importance of rules and formula in Tom’s work comes from an interest in mathematics and is evident in sometimes minimally absurd series of works where not much appears to have happened but is simply a record of something having been made.
We caught up with Tom to ask a few questions about his work prior to Skipton Open Studios:
How did you first get into art? Accidentally. I wanted to study maths when I was at school but people weren’t as impressed by my adding as they were with my paintings and I gave into that, foolishly maybe.
How would you describe yourself as an artist? Printmaker. Maybe in a conceptual way.
What project or artwork are you working on now? It’s only been quite recently that I’ve started making anything again so getting myself up and running again is the main project. This has included setting up a space to work in with the means of making work.
What current art trends are you following? I like work where there is a clear change of state through the course of a process. I don’t know about trend but there is this Norwegian artist called Jan Erichsen who I’ve been following recently who makes these over-elaborate contraptions to pop balloons. Look him up.
What artwork do you wish you owned? A lot of work I like is not the sort of thing that can be owned but I could have anything by Lucien Freud.
Have you taken part in Skipton Open Studios before? I have never been in Jersey for Open Studios before- it’s a nice opportunity.
Why should we visit your studio? I’m not trying to sell anything - including why you should take time out your life to visit my studio. I think this whole project is quite an interesting insight into how people work and the spaces in which they do. Studios are working areas but rarely public and it’s surely interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Does living in Jersey influence your work? If so, how? I don’t think I’ll be drawing Corbiere lighthouse or a cow anytime soon but living in a small place has provided me with some headspace at least. I’m not from Jersey so it’s probably different for me but I do like how it feels to retreat somewhere and have less distraction, while still retaining an outlook to a world outside of the island. I’ve been more productive over the last 6 months than in the last three years.
What do you find most unique about the Jersey creative scene? The abundance of people calling themselves an artist is insane - or the number of people making something anyway. People have so much more time on their hands over here, and money, and it is such a luxury to be able to indulge yourself in your “craft”.
What is the most important tool in your studio? The press is definitely what justifies me having that space at all. Without that I don’t think I could let myself have a studio at the moment.
What kind of music keeps you company in the space where you work? I have a varied taste in music and work with all sorts of things in the background. Sometimes it’s Bill Evans, sometimes it’s Biggie Smalls.
Images courtesy of Holly Smith Photography and video by Little River Pictures.