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Folk x Tom Hammick | The Winter Collaboration

Folk x Tom Hammick | The Winter Collaboration


Tom Hammick is a British painter and printmaker based in London. Drawing from a wide range of sources, his depictions of nightscapes explore a dreamy sense of human isolation and loss. We were lucky enough to collaborate with him on our new Winter range, allowing us to bring elements of his depictions into the wearable world (check out the collection here). We sat down with Tom to discuss the new collection, his process, and what drives him to create such beautiful and haunting work.

What is your process, how do you begin to think about a piece?

I think what I’ve said to most of my students is that I try and live my life as richly as possible and I think that art enables me to cope with life. I love reading and plays and theatre and opera and music and seeing shows. I live and breathe my work and somewhere in all that I draw all the time, every day. Drawing is key because it means I can edit as I go; almost like writing a short story. With each drawing I do I can remember the time I drew it: the smell, the sun, where I was, what was being said, the atmosphere of the place. That helps me find a way of making those memories into a painting or a print. Eventually, I get to a place where the painting starts telling me what to do (the picture says no I really didn't want magenta there and I don't want that dark sky I want something else), rather than me telling the painting what to do- that’s when things get interesting.

I'm curious about your colour palette- you seem to be fascinated by nightscapes and twilight hours. What is it about that colour or that time that interests you?

At night all sorts of things that you might find boring in the daytime can be hidden or lit up at night and they suddenly become almost extra-terrestrial. You might drive past something every day for years and not pay much attention to it but if the light hits it in a certain way in these between-hours, that thing becomes magical and interesting and otherworldly. It becomes a gateway into a parallel universe. I suppose I like the filmic, Hitchcockian magic of being a voyeur, looking in on people's lives. At night this becomes most visceral, you can sense the melancholy of living alone in a city. Most of the time there’s a lot of love around but there's also a lot of loss so I think this night-time, twilight place becomes a space where melancholia wants to be painted. Virginia Woolf writes about this a lot; about walking around the city at night and being interested in things that come out. I think I like that drama.

How did it feel seeing your work reimagined on garments?

I like collaboration and it was nice having people come to the studio. It's great seeing the obsession of professional people who want to get something right. The process was really playful.  I got quite involved in choosing the colours and the fabrics and I liked having my work interpreted and being able to respond to Folk’s designs. I had this idea of figures running around the undergrowth of the clothes, like a game of hide and seek. As you move perhaps as your arm moves they cover the figure up and then it may appear again, a bit like a Chinese scroll painting where you get the same figure in different places around the landscape.

What is the most exciting thing about what you do?

I get a thrill every time we sell a piece or print. It’s also exciting if people say they like my work and that they connect to it. Someone once told me that looking at one of my prints every evening helps them relax and find themselves again. That’s the nicest thing someone could say, I mean it doesn't get much better than that.

Can you tell us about what's coming up for you, do you have a feel of what your next project is going to be?

In all honesty, I don’t really do projects. I’m never quite sure where my work is going to lead me. The important thing is to be in the studio every day - breathe it and be around it and then something happens. I’ve just finished a series of pictures of women in the forest. Those led me to paint forest fires; of people running away or trying to live in the forest away from all the horror that's happening. Artists of all sorts who I admire are always people who’ve watched and somehow recorded the human condition; people trying to live in the world. I suppose that's always quietly what's going on in my pictures from one series of paintings to another. We’ll see how that manifests in what comes next.

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Photography - Jethro Marshall     Interview - Elsa Pearl