James caught up with Tom Hammick to discuss his work currently on display at Kings Framers

Tom Hammick (b. 1963) is a British artist based in East Sussex and London. He is a senior lecturer in Fine Art, Painting and Printmaking at The University of Brighton and a visiting lecturer at at University of Ulster and Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. He has work in many major public and corporate collections including The British Museum, The V & A, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Deutshe Bank, Yale Centre For British Art and The Library of Congress Washington DC. Tom Shows his work internationally and has a solo show at Flowers Gallery NYC in September 2014. Lundhumphries are publishing a monograph on his work in 2015 with texts from Lewes-based artist and critic Julian Bell.  James recently caught up with Tom Hammick to discuss his work currently on display at Kings Framers. Click here to view more works for sale.



Hi Tom, The small works TrailerPrefab and House were produced using a combination of drypoint etching and chine-colle. I was hoping you could explain to our readers what attracted you to this process and what it involves?

It is a painterly process. The Japanese and Chinese and Korean papers provide detail and colour. The line drawn on the metal plate is a matrix that holds everything together, well that's the general idea. I draw on a metal plate, zinc or aluminium with sharp points. These lines create a burr that hold ink in a scratchy rough way. A very different effect to the acid etched line you achieve in etching. I print a proof and then use this as a map to cut the chine-colle papers to. The process is actually very simple. You ink up the plate up, buff it back with scrim so the ink is where you want it to be. You place the plate on the press, the lay on top of your plate the coloured papers, pattern side down, archival glue spread thin with a credit card face up. The papers are damp. You then place over the top of all this a damp much larger sheet of cotton rag paper and run the whole thing through the press. The ink on the plate is pressed into the chin-colle papers. The papers in turn are stuck to the cotton rag sheet. That's it, done.



Prefab 28.5 x 35.5cm Chine Colle and Drypoint Etching (Edition Variable) 2014


Trailer 28.5 x 35.5cm chine colle drypoint Etching (Edition Variable) 





Examples of chine colle papers



Paper cut and ready to be pressed


The notion of memory is key to your painting and printmaking practice. Is there a relationship between the layers of both personal and collective memory the work evokes, and the technique of building layers of colour and texture with the woodblock printing process? i.e what opportunities does the medium present in terms of dealing with the subject matter and vice-versa? 

What a great question! Well I try and evoke a sense of place that is both singular to me if you can say that, and a collective space or place that we all share. Something that is conjured by narratives that we all grew up with in childhood for instance. Although this set of prints, both the woodcuts and the chine-colle are very patterned, I hope they are suitably open ended as images to be personalised by the viewer. The layering process in the making of them, especially the woodcuts is a process that is like dreaming, going deeper into the subconscious with each skin of ink. You hope to get to a point where the print starts telling you what to do. Then is gets exciting because it's out of your control. And so the medium takes you to a place sometimes that you never knew you'd go to.  



Semi 60 x 80cm Reduction Woodcut (Edition Variable) 2014


Pavilion 60 x 80cm Reduction Woodcut (Edition Variable) 2014


The woodcuts Semi and Pavilion depict place which are at once otherworldly yet strangely familiar. To what extent do the place you lived in Sussex influence the images you make?

Well we now live in the boondocks between Hastings and Battle. I love it here but it is a bit of an edgeland—a place that artists are attracted to because they are places that are not manicured and done up. I feel sometime I live in a dystopian paradise ie. a ravishing place that is being f***** over by new roads and expanding ribbon development. Concretisation. William Burrows described this systematic levelling of the natural world as the process which bit by bit reduces the scope and range of our soul. We die a death every time some wood is cut down for a gated community. This is obvious in a way but, we are fast running out of options and here in these prints I have tried to establish a romantic almost fantasy world of the 'getaway' love-shack or the semi detached house with psychedelic interior, which is so typical of suburbia right now, where often inhabitants have to make up for their tough Orwellian weekday lives by conjuring an escape with a fantastical drug fuelled weekend life. Hence the Adam and Eve figures in their kink onesies about to go and party somewhere. JG Ballard is a big influence here. He took the everyday and mundane and saw it ratcheted up to a simmering violence and sexual proclivity!   

Finally, what are you working on right now?

Well I have just finished this painting here called Smoke II. The volcano I hope is a metaphor for the edginess of life, the ghost in the room. Munch made images with skeletal death figures standing by all of us, especially his gorgeous maidens. This is my sort of take on that. I am also working on a painting with some very sexily clad women in Prada, but thats another story!

Sounds Intriguing! Thank you for your time Tom. 



Smoke II 201 x 150 cm Oil on Linen 2014

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