Meet the artist... Tom Sewell
Tom Sewell portrait
Tom Sewell’s practice is involved with exploring human relationships to landscape and place via the translation of experience through images and symbolic language. His practice operates across experimental printmaking, drawing and photography in an attempt to find answers to the questions: How do images alter perceptions of reality? What role do fictions and the imagination have in making the world? Where are we? Graduating in 2017 from Camberwell College of Art, Tom was selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2017 and is working towards his second solo show, at Intercession Gallery in Northampton, opening in June 2018.

What was the inspiration behind the piece(s) in not just a shop?

My work explores the porous border between the idea of elemental nature (stones, plants, air and water) and human ideas of places and things; trying to get lost in the interpretive ambiguities involved in attempting to apprehend the world. The work for not just a shop explores the variousness of stones, the terror of abundance, the confusing act of looking, alchemy, prehistory and the sloshing of images.

Tom Sewell artwork

Who has influenced your work the most?

These people and things have been important along the way: Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker, Penda’s Fen by David Rudkin, J.G. Ballard, Ursula Le Guin, Sigmar Polke, William Blake, Mark E Smith, Robert Wyatt, the Tao Te Ching, Julian Cope’s Modern Antiquarian, Derek Jarman, Ken Russell.

When did you know that you want to pursue artist career?

Forever? It’s not always what I’ve done, or what I do all the time. There’s a lot of other things that have to be done alongside being an artist but art is the thing that I get the most from. Art allows me to attempt to make sense of all the confluent questions, interests and ideas that I have. It’s important for me to be involved in a career that is about making both things and mistakes, to have a lot of questions and to be part of a community of generous and interesting people.

Tom Sewell artwork

What do you want viewers to take away from your work?

I’m not sure it’s up to me what people feel from my work. I hope people get things out of it that I can’t imagine. If anything, I hope they feel confused.

What three things are essential to your practice?

Things, images & time.

Tom Sewell artwork

What is the most inspiring place or exhibition you’ve been to in London?

The Sigmar Polke retrospective at the Tate was so good I went to see it 7 times. There’s a fake stone circle made from the concrete leavings of heavy industry in the Middlesex Filter Beds. It has a weird power that I like. Hidden in Epping Forest are the remains of the banks and ditches of two Iron Age hill forts long since covered over by the weird trunks of hundreds of ancient coppiced beaches.