Artist Interview: Tom Waring

 
 
The centre of my painting practice is semiotics and exploring paintings relationship to images. They begin with the premise that paint wants to point away from itself, but any reference is always bound up with the materiality and conventions of painting. As such, the paintings become a scattered constellation of references to things, process, and medium. 
 
I use the mediums tropes, conventions and pictorial devices as a vocabulary, the illusion of 3d depth on a 2d surface, perspective, trompe l’eoil, and the properties of pigments. In doing so the process of painting is staged, as a form of meta-painting, so the painted images themselves can be the subject of exploration. They particularly focus on the convention of representing things, and echo this in creating forms that play with imitation, illusion and semiotic references, pointing in many directions, but never coalescing into a definable set of nouns.
 
The paintings look to create a dialogue with the way that we read, and deduce meaning from, an image external to painting. I’m interested in images that have an efficiency or economy in the way they convey a particular meaning, like a several millimetre wide app icons, road-sign or a cartoon character drawn only from several lines. I’m interested in tapping into that efficiency to utilise it, break it down, reveal and corrupt it.
 
 
1) Which art movement do you consider most influential on your practice?
17th century Northern European still life and Early Renaissance altarpieces from Northern Europe and Italy.
 
2) Where do you go and when to make your best art?
I don't go anywhere specific, it's the travelling that helps.
 
3) How do you describe your 'creative process'?
An analogy could be like trying to guess concepts and objects from abstracted and rough drawings in Pictionary.
 
4) Which artist, living or deceased, is the greatest inspiration to you?
Johann Georg Hainz for the way that he frames and stages objects in his still-life paintings.
 
5) If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
A Chef, as cooking is the only other thing I feel good at.
 
6) What do you listen to for inspiration?
I use audiobooks of novels in the studio, which helps me focus for sustained periods, which is what these paintings require.
 
7) If you could own one artwork, and money was no object, which piece would you acquire?
I'd get some work from a fellow artist, to help them keep working. I hope they would do the same for me.
 
8) If your dream museum or collection owner came calling, which would it be?
I like and admire everything that the South London Gallery does.
 
9) What is your key piece of advice for artists embarking on a fine art or creative degree today?
Learn by doing and then thinking. If you think first, you can think your way out of anything.
 
10) What is your favourite book of all time (fiction or non-fiction)?
A Brief History of Time, but I like most I hope, never truly feel like I have my head around it.
 
11) If you could hang or place your artwork in one non-traditional art setting, where would that be?
The bathrooms at the Tate Modern.
 
12) What was the biggest lesson your university course or time studying taught you?
Best thing art school gives you is people. After-all art is meaningless without people and society to give it context.
 
13) And finally, if we were to fast forward 10 years, where would we find you?
10 years ago, I never thought I would be an artist in London, so the smart answer to that would be I haven't the faintest idea.