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Thomas Hammer | Studio Visit

New York, NY

August 2014

Shop Art by Thomas Hammer

Why do you create?

Because I’m curious to find out where the work is going next.

When do you make your best work?

I work best when I’m feeling centered and calm. I need to be able to get lost in the work so I can be as open-minded and thoughtful with it as I can, otherwise it becomes too chaotic. When it comes to the studio, I’m most productive in the mornings and early afternoons. I use evenings to relax, catch up with friends, and do email. 

What is your favorite color?

Black - I guess it’s not technically a color, but it makes up most of my wardrobe 

What is your favorite instrument?

Cello - it can be elegant, playful, and warm but also dark and brooding. I listen to lots of stuff while I’m working. It really depends on my mood. Lots of podcasts, jazz, and dance-y / upbeat pop

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Anything with cookies or candy 

What is your biggest demon?

Me (I guess that’s a fairly privileged response)

What is your happy place?

Summer in Tønsberg, Norway where my mother is from.

What do you love most about being on the road?

The opportunity to see things with fresh eyes and return inspired

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Coffee, my morning run, and of course work

What puts you to sleep at night?

A glass of wine after a satisfying day in the studio. Maybe a bit of photo editing or tv.

Who are some of favorite artists?

William Kentridge, Tomma Abts, Donald Judd, Kara Walker, Paul Chan, Ryan Trecartin, Luc Tuymans, James Rosenquist, Hieronymus Bosch. There are a few off the top of my head who have expanded my view about what art can do.

Describe your creative process in a few words.

I tend to bounce around a lot from work to work while paint / ink dries. It’s more a process of making a move, taking time to reflect, and then reacting with another. Sometimes the work has a sense of inevitability and I just have to follow through, but I’ve learned that when it doesn’t the best thing is not to rush it. Sometimes my work starts with and idea or a sketch, but it always evolves from there.