When first came across Tom Stroud we really felt it was necessary to find out more about him. When an artist produces work like this, you have to have tried it for yourself to truely understand the amount of time and wrist pain that goes into stippling this much. Tom, your poor poor wrist.
Hey Tom, tells us a little about your artistic background?
Hi! I might sound like a bit of a fraud, but I don’t think I really have much of an artistic background at all haha. I studied art as a GCSE, but my art teacher hated me so I never took it further than that academically. I kept on doodling, tried to get into water colours basically copying Sam Ricketts and Simon Erl, before I discovered SinEAter. After that I started copying him instead haha. I think in my earlier stuff it really shows that I haven’t found my own feet and that I’m experimenting with other people’s styles to find something that suits me. I see a lot of upcoming, younger illustrators doing the same thing and it always gets me stoked to see how they’re going to interpret the styles they experiment with into their own unique stamp on the art world. I kept doodling until mates let me do shirt designs for their bands and just took it from there. I still can’t quite believe that people really walk around with my artwork on them.
Your work has quite a dark and surrealist theme to it, what led you down this path and what inspires you?
I think I’ve always just been interested in darker shit. I remember first discovering Francis Bacon when I was a teenager and it just completely fucking with what I thought art was supposed to be, you know? I thought art was landscapes and portraits and technical bullshit but Bacon showed me that it’s not all that. It’s sometimes emotional, powerful and abstract. It’s not strictly about romanticizing a sunset, it’s about questioning tradition, parodying the establishment and making grand, sweeping emotional tributes. I’ve always also been heavily interested in myths, religious tales and the occult which stems from playing loads of Final Fantasy and listening to too much metal as a kid.
There seems to be a few hidden political messages in some of your pieces, how important do you think it is to express yourself and your opinions through your art?
The most important! I like to think that my personal pieces that aren’t commissioned or other people’s ideas are usually digs at religion or the establishment in one way or another, or even just tackling emotional shit that I feel. It’s easier to create worthwhile pieces that communicate emotion effectively if it means something to you.
Some of your drawings are incredibly detailed, how long on average to you spend on one piece?
No clue. Usually about a week or so for a detailed piece? There’s one I’m working on which I have been for months. I’m constantly chipping away and dotting something though.
There is a hint of comic style illustration coming through, are you influenced by comic artists? If so who?
I actually hadn’t clocked that to be fair I think the stuff that isn’t stippled leans (rips off) Ray Pettibon and the current wave of graphics heavy streetwear designers. Also mange and anime so yeah actually, I guess you’re right really hahaa. Dragonball Z, Neon Genesis, Akira all that stuff really inspires me but I definitely try to emulate Pettibon more I think.
Describe a dream commission you would love to get
Easy, Kanye West, Supreme or Cannibal Corpse.
What can we expect to see from you in the future? Any plans for exhibitions or collaborations?
I’d love to do exhibitions! I’ve ran two fundraisers in Brighton for Brighton Housing Trust (with a lot of help from my best friends Lois Orchard and WaxWork) but other than that I haven’t got any plans. I’d really love to do an exhibition of some sort so if anyone reading this wants to invite me that’d be sick. Again I’ve collaborated with Lois a bunch of loads of bits and bobs but that’s it! I wanna do as much as I possibly can, and dabble in as much as I can so please get in touch if you wanna work with me definitely.
Finally can we see your workspace?