Artist Spotlight #37: Tom Keukenmeester

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Much like pop art icon Andy Warhol, Tom Keukenmeester has become quite adept at capturing consumer culture. However, instead of glorifying the humble soup can, Tom depicts opulent objects such as fancy vases and perfume bottles. In our latest spotlight, Tom talks about his future plans.

Q: Hello Tom! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: I was born and raised in Adelaide. I’ve been working as a professional visual artist since 2014. However, I’ve always drawn and painted. I’ve worked in the arts or creative industries since high school, it’s something I’ve not been able to tear myself away from.

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Neoclassical Grapefruit, 2014, oil on canvas, 90 cm x 58 cm.

Q: Who inspires you?

A: Anyone brave. Often other artists inspire me, whether that is other contemporary artists or the greats like Goya or Degas.

Q: Do you have a preferred medium?

A: Oil painting.

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Kentish Mural, 2016, acrylic, 2.6 m  x 1.2 m.

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: Right now I love portraiture and still life; I’d say my style is figurative in nature. I often gravitate towards notions of beauty and objectification. As a contemporary artist, consumer culture comes into play quite often as well. I like to say that I’m drawn to anything that could be put on a pedestal.

Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: I take a long time working out a composition or idea prior to putting anything on the canvas. Visually, I like to paint realism, but as I’ve progressed I’m learning what information isn’t necessary to the image. So I try to focus on the main components that create the feeling I desire. Once I start painting I don’t like to take breaks. So I’ll work long hours until it’s done.

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21st Century Anthropology, 2015, charcoal and spray paint on paper, 59 cm x 42 cm.

Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?

A: As much as I love Adelaide, I think I need to stay in Sydney or potentially even a larger city. I plan to return to Adelaide but I’m not sure when that is just now.

Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?

A: It’s horses for courses. Different artists resonate with different people. So I couldn’t recommend just one unless I knew who I was recommending them to.

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Nero’s Selfie, 2015, charcoal, ink and spray paint on paper, 80 cm x 115 cm.

Q: What is your favourite gallery?

A: At the moment I love the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale. However I always have a place in my heart for the Art Gallery of South Australia, which I feel really bats above its weight.

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

A: I haven’t exhibited new work in a while now as I’ve been undertaking a residency here in Sydney where I’m developing my style. Follow my Instagram  and website for that and if you ask me again in a few months I’ll likely have a better answer as I have a few things coming down the pipeline for 2017. I’m about to begin a new series and am in talks with two big galleries here in Sydney.

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I’m So Francey, 2014, charcoal and spray paint on paper, 42 cm x 60 cm.

Q: If you could live in a different era, which would it be?

A: The modern era is the most exciting time in art history for me. However I really would prefer to stay present and look forward.

– Masya Zabidi

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