When we last wrote about illustrator Tom Guilmard, it was in relation to his series expressing his frustrations with his hometown of Milton Keynes. Two years on, and we’re relieved to report he’s still there, and his feelings towards the place are better than ever. “I am still based in the land of dreams and well on my way to a mortgage and a full-time managerial position at Santander,” he jokes.
In reality, Tom’s been working hard at his practice, expanding into several new media including painting and making physical objects. “I started painting about a year and a half ago – it took over my life for a while and then I discovered reverse painting and that was a way I could tread the line between simplistic, graphic paintings which still had character,” he explains. He continues: “Anything physical excites me at the moment. It’s a classic tale but so much of life is in the digital world these days and things like painting bring you back down. Like eating shit on a skateboard, it feels good sometimes to be reminded of reality.”
It’s not just his outputs that have changed though, with these new techniques has come a new mindset for creating work. “I work a lot faster now – I used to think things had to take time if they were to be good but now I like to work fast and get the idea out before I get caught up in self-critique and boredom,” he tells us.
A few things have remained steadfast, however. Firstly, there’s a distinctive, naive quality to Tom’s drawings, every frame packed with humour and charm. Whether it’s worm taking a cigarette break, or Serena and Venus Williams rendered as Mr Blobby, Tom’s works are silly, and downright lovable. “Themes have, and will probably always stay the same – depression, sport, life,” he remarks. The subjects of his works have kept their simplistic qualities as well with Tom describing his creative practice as “quick and always concept driven – I love getting excited by ideas and doing everything to make it happen as quickly as possible, otherwise I won’t finish it.”
Some of Tom’s most recent work has included a series inspired by The Hills, would you believe it… “I did a small show with some friends recently and we came up with a theme which was TV. I wanted to make some work about The Hills because I love it so much. When I was doing the ‘research’ (ie watching it all B2B) I kept noticing these beautiful shots of the Teen Vogue building and I decided I was going to draw every angle of the Teen Vogue building from seasons one and two of The Hills,” he explains. Although not used in the show in the end, the series remains fond to Tom, aesthetically inspired by Andrew Andrew Mahaddie who drew many of the conceptual drawings in the planning of, yes, you’ve guessed it, Milton Keynes.
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