The Old Bank Vault | Artist in Focus
Tom Jean Webb
How would you describe your work and process?
The art was created as a means to represent a message or way of life. I became interested in telling my own story by a creation of a new era or society with its own objects based on personal expression of internal issues and social commentary, designing and developing my own symbols and imagery in order to suggest a message. My visual representations allow me to continue to understand the ideas of these objects, the role that art plays in the presentation of these movements, and the proposed visualization of an idealistic or honest statement.
My pieces allude to a fictional social movement, ceremony, culture, escapism, feeling or folklore that are expressed within the materials of my objects. My representations of this movement or idea do not fit into a given time period or specific social or political matter, but rather become something more timeless and multi-referential. The adopted repetition that exists within the work is done to instigate a relationship between the works as a whole, referencing the idea of mass communication and continued narrative, to begin to develop the understanding of elements contained within the singular pieces and solemnity to these symbols.
Where do you usually like to create your work?
Work is created day to day in the living of a life. the constant journey of experience is what feeds my art practice and so ideas and thoughts are ever evolving. The act of making changes depending on the piece or where I find myself in the world. I like to try to stay fluid in the production with a mixture of studio-based and outside site-specific practice.
Tell us about the pieces you have on show at The Old Bank Vault...
This show is the latest of my works in an ongoing story. The work often includes portraits, from all aspects of humanity, including both modern and historical times.
This is to feed the social qualities of the work, to interact with the audience in a humanitarian sense, and to feel a rudimentary connection with the work. I’m fascinated by the idea of 'freedom' within art the idea of achieving some sort physical or emotional freedom, whether that be in the process of making it, displaying or viewing it. The visual representation of a 'nothing' or a blankness juxtaposed to detail information in my work is essential. By using a void or negative space, I can create just as much if not more emotion or narrative in an image. I can manipulate not only the eye, but also the way an image is read. This forces the viewer to fill in the space both literally and conceptually. Why is the space there and how does it affect what is present? Before I’ve started, I think about how I’m going to un-draw something, and how I can then draw, create an emotion with empty space or a 'nothing'.
Why do you enjoy most about working with The Old Bank Vault?
I like working and collaborating on a show with people that have a fresh idea of the larger scope of creativity. What it is to put together a project that tells a whole story. So that an artist can engage in not just the works of a show but the atmosphere. The Old Bank Vault have been great at developing the concept of an ‘event’ which is exciting for an artist, because it means one can play and have fun with the display and performance of showing work. How can we engage an audience into becoming a part of the show, not just the viewers and how can we relate that to the concepts of the original pieces.
Do you have plans for a new project/body of work?
I constantly have plans on the go, it’s the most fun part about being an artist. Dreaming up ideas, planning and producing until they exist in the real world as a physical thing embodying all that emotion that brought it to fruition.
Next up specifically is a solo show in Austin, Texas in June. I’m very excited to get back to Austin and work with colleagues and friends over there. I’ve done many projects in Texas, it’s a special place with some unique landscapes and people that are a huge inspiration.