Interview with artist Thomas Jackson

The detailed illustrative works of Thomas Jackson are created through a combination of water colour, gouache and ink. His beautiful style and subject matter will be showcased in his upcoming solo exhibition ‘Studies’ at The Tate this Wednesday, 7 May at 6pm. ‘Studies’ is a new series of small scale works on paper and Thomas has kindly given us a sneak peak at some of the exhibition pieces. Huge thanks to Thomas for taking the time to answer these questions while preparing for his show.


How long have you been doing street art and art in general? How did you initially get started? I started doing graffiti at the age of 14, and have drawn for as long as I can remember. I did my first payed illustration gig when I was 16. But only quite recently (in the last 4 years) have taken artwork really seriously. Before then I was mostly doing commercial illustration.

How would you describe your style?
I think and hope my work resembles the illustrations of an explorer who has captured a moment in time and nature.

I’m looking forward to your upcoming solo exhibition “Studies” at The Tate. What is the inspiration behind the work in this exhibition?
In this exhibition I’m trying to create my usual detailed illustrative works at a quicker pace that can be a little more expressive by using water colour, ink and guache. I have chosen the name ‘Studies’ because this new way of working is perfect for creating study works for my larger more detailed ACRYLIC PAINTINGS.


A lot of Inner Westies will be familiar with the recent wall you painted at the Hive Bar in Erskineville. How did this wall come about?
I really wanted to do something for the WA shark cull, showing my disgust in the newly implemented policy. The Hive Bar wall is something I walk past nearly every day and it was begging for some artwork.


I have seen some of your beautiful creations on the street in both the “Wonderwalls” street art festival in Wollongong and the “Hit the Bricks” festival in Newcastle. If you could do a collaborative piece of street art with anyone of your choice, who would it be? Why?
I don’t really see myself as a ‘street artist’. Street art is something that I enjoy doing but would much prefer to do gallery work. But I have been talking with Numskull about doing some interesting walls soon.

Where can someone buy your work?  Do you do commission work? How can someone contact you if they want an original Thomas Jackson design?
Of course, you can check out my website and contact me through there. I do private commissions and you can always check out the show on May 7th at The Tate Gallery for more works.

Do you have other creative outlets?
Skateboarding has always been a passion of mine. Although these days it seems to be getting pushed to the back of my mind while working for exhibitions and freelancing.

What can we expect to see from Thomas Jackson in the future? In August I have another exhibition booked in at China Heights Gallery, then after that I’m hoping to book a show overseas. Hopefully in the UK.

Best place for a caffeine hit in the Inner West?
Sorry not a big coffee drinker. But Young Henry’s do a mighty fine beer.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in the Inner West?
Oscillate Wildly in Newtown is really awesome, but it’s a little bit more for a special occasion place.

What’s the Inner West’s best kept secret?
If I told you I’d have to kill you.

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