Prominent painter inspires Perse art students
4 Oct 2019
Leading contemporary artist Tom Wood passed on his expertise to students during a special visit to The Perse art department.
HRH The Prince of Wales, actress Barbara Windsor and writer Alan Bennett are among those Tom has captured in portraits during a career spanning four decades, with his works having been displayed in exhibitions in galleries across the world.
Of his work, the Yorkshire-based artist said: “My work has gone through lots of different changes. At one time I used to do a lot of portraits, but I’ve also produced works that pose questions and set up situations whereby you’re intrigued by the image and you want to explore it a little bit further.
“I was born in Africa and came to this country after my father died. I think that transition from one culture to another has always informed my work in some way, that idea that there are lots of questions and uncertainties.”
As well as giving a talk, Tom worked with Perse art students in lessons, giving tips and advice on the use of colour and composition, and said he had relished their enthusiasm for the subject.
He said: “It’s always nice to meet young people because I’m 64 and I feel like a dinosaur! To work with young people is to gain energy from them. When they do find something they really enjoy and want to engage in, you’re just a passenger on their journey. It’s lovely to watch that happen.”
Tom added that although he had enjoyed a long career in art, it had only been the influence of a teacher at his school that had spurred him on to pursue it.
He said: “I had no real intentions of going into art. I played a lot of rugby, studied history, English and so on, and in the boys’ grammar school I attended, the intention was you would go straight to university.
“I was one of a very small number of people who ended up going to art school and it was as a result of a teacher who persuaded me that a creative life would suit me and it has. I feel I’ve been very fortunate with the opportunities I’ve had through art, so he was right.”
Listen to Tom’s advice for students considering a career in art and his thoughts on Perse art students’ creations below.