Interview: Nick Thomm


Originally published for HOPE ST.

If you’ve ever tried to visu­al­ize a psy­che­delic time warp – and let’s face it, haven’t we all – then it prob­ably looked a little some­thing like Nick Thomm’s art. Combining the his­toric with the futur­istic, Melbourne-born artist Thomm experiments with past, present and future, fus­ing dif­fer­ent cul­tural ele­ments to form some of the trip­pi­est, next-level shit you’ll ever see.

 — When did you first get into art? Can you remem­ber the first piece you created?

 — I think the first piece I remem­ber mak­ing had quotes from all my favour­ite bands all over it – my career would be over if any­one saw that.

 — Is there any one piece you’ve cre­ated that made you think ‘this really represents my style’?

 — I think the Her­cules and Bac­chus works for my first show were a real turn­ing point for me. They def­in­itely aren’t my best works, but I think at the time they were explor­ing what I thought was pos­sible with new media – espe­cially consider­ing the scale of the pieces.

 — You often jux­ta­pose the past and the future in your work – is that some­thing that you’re inter­ested in, mod­ern­ising old ideas and present­ing your own take on them?

 — Def­in­itely. I think it’s about giv­ing new con­text to things that are so iconic that they’ve almost been stripped of their ori­ginal mean­ing and iden­tity. If you can change the way people per­ceive a cer­tain object or visual that they already connect with, the res­ult can be really powerful.

 — Work­ing between Mel­bourne and New York, what do you find to be the main dif­fer­ences in the art scenes of each city?

 — I sup­pose they’re almost oppos­ites. I sort of see Mel­bourne as my place to chill and focus on new ideas and just be immersed in my pro­jects, and New York as the place where I go to execute most of my ideas and find inspiration.

 — You work across a num­ber of dif­fer­ent plat­forms with your phys­ical art­work, your stu­dio and the magazine. Are there any other areas you would like to try your hand at work­ing in?

 — I’ve always loved mak­ing music – I’m just not good at fin­ish­ing songs. I make a beat or write a part and then leave it forever. I actu­ally used to be in a band with Nick Murphy [Chet Faker], but he did all the hard work, obviously.

 — What’s your year shap­ing up to be like?

 — I’m about to head back to the US. I’m doing an install­a­tion at the open­ing of Richard Branson’s new Vir­gin Hotel in Chicago and fol­low­ing up on a few projects in LA. Then I will be back out to New York for a while work­ing on some new stuff.