I guess it kind of vaguely it came from a background of street art and graffiti, that kind of thing. I grew up in Hobart which is a quarter of a million people, so my idea of graffiti and street art was different to what it is in the city. In Hobart it was basically me and a few other people doing it. Back then it was just a way of exhibiting your work. I really like the democratic aspect of working outside, everyone gets to see it.
Tell me a bit about your process…
All my works are drawings, even if it’s done with paint, it’s drawing, it’s all about line and pattern. I put up a really brief sketch, I try to keep the sketch as minimal as possible. Then I just hit at it with black lines, for this one I projected a picture of my face up so I could get where the eyes are but then I try to keep it as minimal as possible, because then when you’re going at it with black lines, because it’s just black or white, if you stuff up you kind of have to make it work. I kinda like the way it decides for you what you’re doing. If you drop a huge bit of black paint over there I guess the hair goes over there a bit. And if you draw something really wrong you pretty much have to go with it. You can cover it up a little bit but the more you try and cover up you just end up looking at that exact point.
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The primal urge to draw is central to Hobart-based artist Tom O’Hern, whose work incorporates street art, zines, murals, pencil and ink drawing, painting, and installation. Tom works mostly in black-and-white, creating fantastical worlds inhabited by loners and misfits, hairy skeletons, monsters and wild-eyed beasts.