Tom Solty: Faith & Belief IV

Tom Solty

Artwork’s Title: Faith & Belief IV

Materials Used: Oil on canvas

Studio-Based: Berlin, Germany 🇩🇪

Tom Solty, Faith & Belief IV, oil on canvas, 120 x 150 cm, 2022

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Τ.S: The current work is a series out of oil paintings with a sort of classical treatment in terms of the paint and depicted images such as landscapes or objects. The process therefore starts everyday again with perceiving our environment and documenting contemporary happenings. The idea of a painting can start with a certain moment I was going through and the connected visual memory to that.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Τ.S: Nostalgic, Elemental, Diverse.

Could you share with us some insights on your painting diptych ‘Faith & Belief IV’, (2022)? Is there any particular story behind this new work?

Τ.S: This work is out of a series of 4 in total and was painted at last. The depictions of porcelain figures, which appear as close ups in the paintings, are found in my grandmas house or other similar places and can be seen as artefacts of faith. Its fragility surely depicts its dissolution and can demonstrate the conflict between what we believe in and who we actually are. The foreground of these paintings are mostly covered or overlapped by insects or arachnids such as mosquitos or spiders. It’s mostly my fascination to nature and its various organisms that make me paint and connect certain topics.

You currently had a solo show at Artco gallery in Berlin. Could you talk about your new painting series that you presented at the ‘Walking in the High Grass’ exhibition?

Τ.S: The 15 paintings from that exhibition were all painted in the last 8 month in my studio in Berlin and somehow changed during the process. The first paintings were large size canvas with the depiction of landscapes and other mostly classical or romantic coherences. Oversized windows or spaces out of where we perceive nature and our environment these days then began to merge into the landscape painting. Almost the other half of the exhibited paintings turned out to be ‘reverse’ paintings of the first ones. While the universal and the overall natural sensation lays in the background in the previous paintings, the recent ones show the universal truth in front and somehow manmade subjects behind.

‘Walking in the high grass’ describes certain powerlessness and mankind’s faint with great response to our interaction with the natural.

According to you, what is alluring about photorealistic paintings? It looks like you are very keen on this art field.

Τ.S: I wouldn’t consider my works as photorealistic paintings even though they are connected to photography. But quite some people referred that, such as the curator who wrote the text about the exhibition. My fascination to figurative painting, its handcraft and various techniques surely guides and inspires me, but I am still going through a process and trying to adopt and learn about oil painting itself, so even some of my recent paintings have a clumsy touch I would say.

Could we describe your recent works as alternative forms of contemporary still life?

Τ.S: Yes, I would agree on such a description, thus it only counts for a certain series of my works. But the whole idea of alternatives within contemporary art and even abroad is something that seems very important to me due to rapid changes and the acceptance of transformation.

Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you usually come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning of your artistic process?

Τ.S: The works somehow grow together during the process, so I have a certain visual image in my mind which I would like to realize, mostly in terms of a painting, but then during the painting process I experiment and play around with the technique or the depicted figures, such as the added insects or windows which I place upon.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

Τ.S: Since my studio where I work is very dark, dirty and cold in the winter I´d love to see my paintings in a clean and minimal room with high sealing, so I guess showing works in a large room with quite some space would satisfy me.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

Τ.S: Edward Hopper, Wayne Thiebaud, Wolfgang Mattheuer, Matt Bollinger, Danica Lundy, Rae Klein, Hidetaka Suzuki, Sayre Gomez

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

Τ.S: I share my Atelier with some other artists who all work in different fields. The whole building is mostly used by craftsmanship and manufacturing companies such as welders, carpenters or mechatronic technicians and this affects my process too I guess. I can use all kinds of tools there so I am building everything by myself, like the canvas, the frames or other things. The place itself is looking more like a workshop and can be used for bigger projects such as installations too.

Which are your plans for the near future?

Τ.S: I would love to keep on painting and learn more about the paint itself, like manufacturing my own paint. Meanwhile I am working on new paintings for a group show in Joshua Tree in California, USA. This will probably take place in the middle of November this year.

Additional Paintings

Tom Solty, Carsharing, Oil on canvas,130 x 195 cm
Tom Solty, Leather Seat, oil on canvas, 100 x 77 cm
Tom Solty, Faith & Belief, oil on canvas, 130 x 195cm
Tom Solty, 8.48 over Europe, oil on canvas, 130 x 195cm


All images courtesy of the artist

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