WE SAT DOWN WITH ARTIST TOM ANDERSON TO TALK ABOUT HIS LATEST SHOW THE SHAPE OF THINGS, WHICH IS ON DISPLAY THROUGH THE END OF THE MONTH.
903: In past series you have used a variety of metals, for THE SHAPE OF THINGS you used primarily copper. Is there any special significance to its use?
TA: Having an exhibit is an opportunity to create a new body of work. The use of copper was a foundation to explore a variety of possibilities that the material itself can express. I wanted the consistency in material to become the narrative. Examining the properties of copper as an artistic expression inspired me to go deeper into the process.
903: Much of your new work focuses on on the elements. How did that direction come about?
TA: I see the elements of earth, air, fire and water as a metaphor for life. It is a reflection of our human condition and experience. I also weave those aspects into the materials I work with and the studio process. Copper and steel are very much rooted to the earth, different techniques I use are dependent on temperature, humidity and exposure to air to transform and become the result. The element of surprise can also be an inherent part of the creative process.
903: You mention in creating this series you found yourself “accepting that there is meaning in the spontaneous and allowing things to be” Was it more of a mentality or did that apply your process as well?
TA: As an artist I am influenced by spontaneity and improvisation. One record I have listened to more than any other in the studio is Miles Davis' "Kind Of Blue". My parents used to play it when I was a child. When Miles came into the studio he had some loose sketches of his ideas..the outcome was for the most part improvised by the other musicians.
It takes some courage to let go and let it be. In the studio I create conditions where the outcome is uncertain but the results can inform the future. I believe that less is more, the magic is in the details and surprise can be a solution.
903: In this series you use a more graphic approach than in some of your other series? Did this approach help you to keep things more spontaneous?
The graphic aspect was a foundation to explore between the spaces. To allow the spontaneity of materials be in contrast to the more structural forms and create a balance between chaos and order. Like a visual conversation between positive and negative space. While at the Evergreen State College in 1972, I built the 16mm animated film studio because I wanted to see my drawings move through space, perhaps there is a part of me that still does.
903: Anything else you'd like to mention?
TA: My studio is a collection of potentially useful objects and ideas. It is a place that I can create an experience. I believe that based on my experiences, the more I know, the more my universe expands and guides me to a greater awareness...