Artist of the Month: Tom Heatley
1 How long have you been at Phoenix?
I’ve been at Phoenix for seven months now. Time flies!
2. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on making some pieces as a reaction or response to our current political situation. I haven’t made work previously with such a directly political stimulus, so it’s good to be experimenting with new approaches to making work.
3. Which media do you like to use?
I work predominately with photography and sculpture. In most of my work, I make installations for the camera, or make pictures of things that appear in some way sculptural in their found form. I often then use prints of my photographs in installations with found objects, manufactured items and other material. This process aims to expand images into the space, and build on themes that are explored within the body of work. In my current work, I’ve been making small ephemeral sculptures in various urban locations, using found objects and materials held together with blutack and sellotape.
4. Which other artists do you admire?
I admire many artists, ranging from Duchamp, Man Ray and Rauschenberg, to painters such as Ellsworth Kelly and Cy Twombly, jazz musicians like John Coltrane and Hank Mobley, and then more contemporary artists and photographers: Martin Creed, Broomberg and Chanarin, Gabriel Orozco, Darren Harvey-Regan, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Laura Letinsky. There are many many more that I could list, and find that many other things influence me day to day.
5. What would you recommend to go see?
Two shows that I’ve seen recently that I recommend very much are at the Bermondsey white cube and Whitechapel gallery. The first is hosting a show of surrealist work, historic and contemporary, by over 50 women artists. The show is huge and presents an amazing diversity of practices. The second show is called a Handful of Dust and is curated by David company. It comprises of a selection of contemporary photographic work and collected material such as postcards, magazines and books, leading us through various depictions and explorations of dust.
6. Is there a piece of work you’re particularly proud of?
A piece to date that I’m proud of is ‘Blue and Red still life’. It’s from a body of work titled The Sculptors and is the result of a period of time I spent in the sculpture studios at the University in 2015. I had the initial idea that I would undertake an ethnographic research project where I would learn about the traditions and cultures of the department from within, by becoming integrated and familiar with its occupants. The project resulted in a series of sculptural images and installations. ‘Blue and Red still life’ documents an individuals workspace that I subtly rearranged for the photograph. The print is over a meter tall and framed, and when installed the picture rests on a brick fragment and an off cut of wood, both taken as artefacts from the sculpture studios.
For more about Tom, see his website.
Take a look at the Artist of the Month archive here and make sure to check back next month to see who’s featured!