Thomas Jackson lives in Sydney Australia, and has a studio at the Tate gallery studios in Glebe. He was born in Bolton northern England, then moved to the middle east before settling in Sydney Australia at age 7. In 2005 he moved to Melbourne where he studied and really grew as an artist.
COD // Tell us about your upbringing
TJ // I suppose my upbringing was pretty normal. Both my parents worked really hard and gave my sister and I the best start any person could ask for. Although I was the “black sheep” due to being interested in artwork and creative pursuits, but every one is super supportive and love seeing what I’ve come up with next.
COD // What is your background in the arts/creative industry?
TJ // Mostly Illustration, but within that I have worked in many different fields. I have worked in animation for TV shows and apps/games, advertising, print poster design and at the moment I’m teaching. It’s been a fun road so far.
COD // Where are you teaching & what are you teaching?
TJ // I’m currently teaching Illustration at CATC Design College down in the Rocks. I teach both the traditional elements (hand illustration) and digital.
COD // Have you discovered something about yourself through this experience of having students?
TJ // My students are so full of hopes and dreams of doing the work they love when they finish study… but to be brutally honest it’s not always the way. Sometimes you have to do work that wouldn’t be your first choice (to pay the rent!). When you’re out in the ‘real world’ you have to strike your own balance between art and commercial work – it’s different for everyone. I always try to keep a good focus on creating my own work and the dream of course is to only being doing your art and/or working with good clients. But you have to reconcile that in your own way until that day comes.
COD // You include sharks a lot in your artworks, tell us about your fascination with these creatures. How do you feel about the recent shark culling initiative in WA?
TJ // I painted a wall in Erskineville on Hive Bar recently, publicly showing my outrage in the stupidity of the people making these decisions. I think its such a shame that in this day and age people in powerful positions can take such carless and uneducated actions. I think they are beautiful creatures, the way they move, their design. I like most under water animals for the same reason.
COD // there is a little wooden house that features heavily in your work, can you tell us about this and the meaning behind it?
TJ // I like seeing things that people have made and then moved away from or forgotten. They look beautiful when these structures become overgrown and a new home or habitat for wildlife. It happens both on land and under the sea. Nature always reclaims forgotten relics. The structure also gives a context for the creatures and I’ve now created real life sculptures of the little hut that appears in many of my works.
COD // what is your favourite medium to work with/on?
TJ // Acrylic on wood is defiantly my preferred way to work. I like the way it feels to work with and the way it looks at the end.
COD // What’s next for Thomas Jackson?
TJ // This year I have 2 solo exhibitions coming up, one at ‘The Tate Gallery’in Glebe on the 7th May and one at ‘China Heights Gallery’in Surry Hills in August You can check out the details on my website closer to these dates.
I also would love to exhibit in the UK as I have a lot of friends and network over there so it would be awesome to spend some time there, working and exhibiting.
COD // Aside from art, what are your passions in life and what do you wish you had more time for?
TJ // As a teenager I skateboarded a lot I’m trying to get back into that, but I’m not a teenager any more. There’s a long list of things I wish I had more time for: Travel, Graffiti, Gardening, Swimming, Galleries, Museums, The list can go on.
COD // Well, next time we catch up for a beer. Let’s make sure it’s doing one of those things! Although swimming isn’t our strong point… does floating in a rubber dingy with a tinny count?