Tom Van der Meulen is a recent Fine Arts graduate from the University of Reading. He creates his own digitally influenced paintings that explore the relationships between painting and the digital world. Van der Meulen’ work can be described as ‘A-temporal’; painting that has entered an unrestricted arena where all forms and periods of art can coexist at once taking influence from a range of sources.

He is one of the two artists selected for In Real Life residency, second of 4 artist residencies organized and curated by Artcore between 2018/2019.

We visited him in the artist studio, where we discovered some interesting aspects of his research concerning the representation of digital spaces and imagery through the medium of contemporary painting.

Have a read of what he says!

Tom Van der Meulen, Elide, 2018, Household Gloss on canvas

Where are you based?

In Swindon, Wiltshire.

How would you like to use this residency to develop your current research and how do you think the time spent at Artcore can benefit your process of doing?

I am using this residency to give my undivided attention to my own practice for two months. This residency gives me a specific goal to work towards. It also gives me a great opportunity to showcase my work and develop as an artist.

In the proposal you mentioned you would like to break down the subjective wall surrounding the digital world, through the frame of contemporary painting. Doing this you aim to explore how we operate with digital technology, sharing a very intimate and obsessive relationship with it. Why are you interested in it and how do you aim to connect it with your current practice?

The digital world is unavoidable today.  It influences all our lives, it is often seen as a positive and progressive modern tool. This is something I partly believe. I think there is a great deal to critique within the digital sphere. I‘m really interested in objectively looking at it within my art. We have this intimate and obsessive relationship with it but we appear to take it at its face value. I connect the digital to my art by composing my paintings on my laptop, using a combination of digital imagery within Adobe Suite programmes, which I then paint.

How and when have you decided to use the medium of painting to investigate the effect technologic platforms have on imagery, repetitive process both elements that lead to quick passive consumption?

After composing my digital imagery on my laptop I find that the best way to start an objective conversation about the digital world is by transferring it into the critical frame of contemporary painting. The merging of the two opposing mediums encourages us to look at it in a new way, helping us to think objectively about it.

Tom Van der Meulen, Numinous, 2018, Household Gloss on canvas

What is the most interesting or inspiring thing you have seen or been to recently, and why?

I went travelling around Asia last summer and saw so many amazing things. It really opened my eyes and broadened my perspective. I saw lots of really interesting architecture, painting and sculpture, all of which gave me new ideas for my own practice.

What keeps you curious?

Wanting to constantly develop my art by questioning the world around us. I really enjoy creating new works of art that explore and critique different subjects. I strive to create new things that people will enjoy and actively engage with. With art everyone has their own interpretation and I love that there are no boundaries.

Which other artists’ work do you admire, and why?

I really admire Laura Owens work. She is another artists that uses the medium of paint to look at the digital world. I love how she paints common marks you would find on digital programs such as Photoshop. Her work creates a playful language between the two.

Tom Van der Meulen, Xenolith, 2018, Household Gloss on canvas

What do you think is the role of artists who decided to work on the issues related to digital identity in the current society?

I think the role of Artists dealing with this subject is to encourage us to think about it openly and help us better understand our relationship with technology. Being curious about everything ensures that we continue to learn.

What are your thoughts on being an artist in Derby for two months?

I’m excited about this, its a new adventure, which not only gives me a chance to explore a new place and interact with new people, but allows me to do the same with my art.

How do you see Artcore, as an art institution, to support you at this stage of your career?

Artcore is giving me a fantastic platform to showcase my art. I think this experience will really help me to better myself as an artist in and outside of my practice. It’s great that there are organisations such Artcore out there that are willing to work with artists and help them develop. Artcore helps to bring the artist and the community together.

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