At 25, everything was going swimmingly for Amsterdam-based artist Tom Heerschop. He’d just graduated from the Rietveld Academy and the Sandberg Institute, his work was getting picked up by galleries and he started a family. But then, things abruptly changed. His behaviour got more erratic, he was suffering from memory loss, and his once prolific practice ground to a halt. After several rounds of therapy, none of which worked, doctors discovered a benign tumour nestled in Tom’s brain. Skip forward nine years and he’s still dealing with the physical and mental fallout of this interloper, with much of his work fuelled by the resulting injury to his brain.
So when Tom approached Utrecht-based Studio Airport to create a portfolio website, it was not your average brief. The artist wanted something that would tell his story as well as showcasing nearly 1,200 artworks. Faced with this challenge Studio Airport developed a site that explores Tom’s relentless imagination as well as tracking his work alongside the phases of his life. On entering the site, the artist eyeballs you from centre screen, while clicking on his head triggers a series of 50 customised animations to bombard the greyscale video footage with an explosion of colour. Studio Airport worked closely with Tom to develop step-by-step drawings for the gif and SVG animations, the most complex of which are constructed from more than 200 images and at 24 frames a second. The result is a touching snapshot into the mind of this talented artist, as well as a benchmark in portfolio sites.