We are delighted to have Tom Down join the expert judging panel for Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2019. As the overall prize winner in the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2018, Tom is no stranger to the team here at Jackson’s and we remain intrigued by his exploration of the romantic landscape and the vistas he reveals through his constructed worlds. We caught up with Tom to find out how the prize has affected his practice 6 months on and to ask what advice he has for entrants and what he will be looking for when judging our next big competition.
Clare: Back in our June interview, when we asked you about the benefits of winning the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize, you said it gave you time to pause and reflect on your artwork. How has this reflection time benefitted you 6 months later?
Tom: It’s been good to pause and reflect. Winning the Jackson’s Prize was one of the events this year that has helped to build confidence in my practice and the direction it is headed. The prize money has given me breathing room financially, so I can start to take a longer view on things. I have some residency and higher education applications on the cards for 2019, so we will see what comes of those.
Clare: You also mentioned you were hoping to increase the scale of your paintings and work with photo composites. How are you getting on with this?
Tom: Scale is the next thing to tackle. I have some bigger paintings planned for the new year that are currently in the planning stages. I’ve also been messing around in the background with things like google earth and trying to incorporate some more digital elements into the work, though that’s not quite resolved itself fully enough to make into the final paintings yet.
Clare: What, if anything, has changed the most dramatically in your practice since your win?
Tom: My painting style has been progressively getting ‘looser’ over the last year or so. I’m trying to enjoy the process and the mark making more, experimenting with different surfaces to work on. I’ve also been trying to work with quite a restricted palette to simplify the process.
Clare: What are you working on at the moment?
Tom: I’m aiming to finish a few more small ones by the end of 2018. They are all based on simple cardboard trees. I am also currently finishing preparing some larger wooden panels for the next series, which will all be based on a few more ambitious models, incorporating a few new elements.
Clare: Can you describe your studio space to us?
Tom: My studio is about 200 sq feet which I share with another artist. It’s on the first floor of a busy studio complex with over 200 other artists, situated on an industrial estate between Earlsfield and Tooting in South West London. I have a large wall for paintings, a desk, a computer and a shelving unit that contains all my modelling materials and tools. I also have a large painting trolley that has a glass palette on top and all the paints, brushes and mediums below.
Clare: Who is your favourite romantic landscape painter?
Clare: At this time, who are your top 3 painters ever?
Clare: What will you be looking for in the entries submitted in the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2019?
Tom: Originality, technical skill and contemporary relevance.
Clare: Do you have any advice for any artists considering entering our competition?
Tom: Don’t overthink it! Just choose your best current piece of work and submit.
Clare: Where online or in the flesh can we view more of your work?
Tom: I am most active on Instagram, @ _tom_down – I frequently post new work, images and videos of the process in the studio, as well as information on upcoming shows and announcements. Also, my website has images of recent work and an archive of older work and previous exhibitions.
Feeling inspired? Check out the competitions website here: www.jacksonspaintingprize.com for more information or to enter the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2019.