Look at this – he can make culturally significant art faster than I can lace up my boots….
I’ve known about Tom Slaughter for some time because Eats lives in our bookshelves and is one of our favorites over here. You know how you cringe when your child picks out certain books that you are so over? Never the case with Eats — this book is like a party for your eyes. Tom’s books are not your typical kid books, they are beautiful pop art.
But kids’ books are just one piece of his incredible talent. His overall body of work includes prints and posters, watercolors and three-dimensional pieces. His pieces can be found in the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art.
A hallmark of pop art is that it takes a singular common object and brings it out of its context. By isolating and manipulating it, the artist brings a whole new light to that object. As you saw in the video above, sunglasses have never looked more interesting; below you’ll see what he does to hats, flip flops and water towers…you’ll never look at them the same! Visit his website to see more after you visit with him below.
There’s nothing of Tom’s that I wouldn’t put on my art wall…and soon we’ll all have a chance to hang a Slaughter in our homes when his line of wallpaper comes out (see the q&a.)
Until then, you have a chance to win some of Tom’s work for your bookshelves.
WIN IT: Three of you will win a package of four of Tom’s children’s book titles: Same Same, Eats, Over Under and 1 2 3. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by 12/28. To enter and win the four books, do the following during the week that Tom Slaughter’s interview is up:
Forward the e-newsletter to a friend who might be interested in Mom Culture (be sure to use the “forward” within the email on the bottom left.)
Leave a comment on this post about which of Tom’s work moves you most
Don’t miss the pics of the studio after the Proust Questionnaire (I LOVE Tom’s favorite mantra!)
While your range of art includes watercolors and sketches, much of it is graphic and often very colorful. Can you describe the medium and technique used to create these bold, graphic pieces?
I use primary colors, mostly because I never did take a painting class. The Colors (primaries) worked well enough for Calder and Lichtenstein. I paint, draw, cut paper, use a computer and even an i-phone — its all the same hand.
I both paint on and cut paper. Sometimes I just paint. The paper cutting evolved out of the children’s books.
How did you get involved with creating those famous YES WE CAN posters for the Obama campaign?
I grew up in the 60s and its been that long since there was an election to get excited about. I remember Warhol’s McGovern poster and not many others. Obama inspired hundreds of artist to make work posters, music and to volunteer. I hope he leads the country with the same inspiration.
New York appears in a lot of your work — is it safe to say that New York is your muse? What else informs or inspires your art?
New York New York — they don’t write songs about Toronto. I was born on 77th st. and always came back whenever I left for a while. I love the country, the Cape Cod of Edward Hopper, John Marin’s painting of the Maine coast, Ed Rusha’s LA. But NYC is in my DNA.
Certain icons, such water towers and birds, seem to show up often. Can you talk about some of your icons and what they mean to you?
Icons…. these are my alphabet. I draw them over and over until they are part of my language. Sun glasses , bikes, hats, boats, buildings , they are all just part of an excuse to make images.
Some of your pieces combine vibrant color with pop graphics and repetition — is it safe to say that Warhol is an influence for you? Who else influences you?
Warhol, of course. I have worked with Jean Paul Russel at Durham Press for 20 years. He was just a kid out of high school when he started printing for Andy Warhol. Warhol is everything and changed all the rules for those who followed. At the moment, I am designing Wallpaper — what could be more Warholian.
I love that you’re doing wallpaper — where is it sold?
The wallpaper will be available soon through Cavern Home.
How did you decide to do children’s books?
At the time, I was married to the brilliant children’s author Marthe Jocelyn. I had the inside connection and we have collaborated on 8 books. I love them. They use only only primary colors which gives the books their POP! The new one coming in March 2010 is called Which Way. (see Tom’s books at his website or at his publisher Tundra Books.)
Were you an artist as a child…and, if so, who helped cultivate this gift?
I had a great teacher in high school, we drew from life every day. He introduced me to the drawings of Picasso, Matisse, Rodin. I met Keith Haring in the early 80s in NYC and he, too, was a great influence.
How do encourage your own kids’ creativity?
I have 2 daughters, both in University now. They grew up in New York (in Soho) with two artist parents so they have no other role model than creativity. My younger daughter, Nell, is in art school and is way more talented than I was. I believe it’s also really just a matter of how hard you want it.
Proust Questionnaire for Tom Slaughter:
My favorite snack is: dark chocolate (apples in season)
Don’t ask me to: sing
I would put into a time capsule my: New York Times
My favorite place is: a secret
When I have a creative block I: draw pictures (or go to a matinee)
My favorite mantra is: be the first to do the right thing