AS BOLD AS TOM BERRY
London based artist and illustrator Tom Berry welcomes us into his world. Will you join us?
FIRE IN THE BELLY
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THAT YOU WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST?
I properly made the choice about ten years ago but I have always followed different creative pursuits, and drew lots and lots, from very early on.
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE DOING TODAY IF YOU WEREN'T AN ARTIST?
I try not to think too much about all the great things that I could have achieved if I hadn't followed this path!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THE CHALLENGES OF BEING AN ARTIST ARE NOWADAYS?
Most of the problems that go with any small/one person business - convincing people that you are serious and have value. That you will be dependable and are able to manage projects well.
WHAT DOES A NORMAL DAY IN THE STUDIO LOOK LIKE?
I draw every day for twenty minutes without any objective or aim but besides that, I usually have a list I try to work through.
There are quite a lot of clerical things that aren't that romantic or creative.
It is very nice to get a few days of pure freedom to pursue something you have been dreaming about, which doesn't happen unless you make it happen.
COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS WHEN IT COMES TO DESIGNING AND MAKING?
For the designing/ planning I always try to work by hand, even when the final design/image is done digitally (about 10% of the time).
Usually I am pretty conventional, working with a pencil and rubber. If I am rushing I use the light box to copy parts of an old sketch, but ideally it is a simple process with as few tools as possible.
I tend to cut out elements more and more, to see how they could sit together when I am planning a composition.
The making part is really very varied but if the design/planning is strong, it is sort of just a case of time and work, but no more massive decisions.
EACH ARTWORK IS DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE - HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU, ON AVERAGE, TO MAKE ONE OF YOUR SCREEN PRINTS?
I wish it was a predictable process but I couldn't make an average.
Some have taken me weeks, and then I have also made a whole edition in a day. It just depends.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE MATERIALS TO WORK WITH?
All of them apart from computers, which I can and do use, but they don't feel connected to the body as much.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE TO THE PERSON WHO PURCHASES ONE OF YOUR PIECES?
Maybe just that I try to create honest, beautiful and positive pictures.
A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO US AND OUR CUSTOMERS. COULD YOU TELL US WHAT YOU DO TO APPROACH YOUR BUSINESS IN A MORE SUSTAINABLE WAY?
I try to make less work, better. As you know, all my print editions are very small, I am not trying to mass-produce. Almost all the packaging that I use for supplying shops with and posting out work is compostable and I am always trying to find replacements for what isn't.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONLY ONE ILLUSTRATION THAT YOU MADE TO TAKE WITH YOU FOREVER, WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
'Her Midnight Self'. I made just a few at a time when I wasn't technically great at screen-printing but they came out well anyway, so they are a little bit precious to me.