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Tom Bagshaw is a King! What I mean by that is he’s sitting at the top of the Art game right now, it’s a fitting descriptor as well because he’s the only British artist profiled in this issue. Tom is one of my personal heroes, I’ve been a fan of his art for years, his artwork is generally one masterpiece after the other.
Tom is a digital artist but most of his works have the uncanny ability to resemble oil on canvas, you can almost see the globs of paint on the textured canvas reflecting in the light. He also displays his work in top galleries around the world like Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles.
Over the years Tom and I formed a friendship which speaks well of his character because Tom Bagshaw showed me respect and attention even when Urban-Muse was just starting out many years ago and was very small. Tom and I have been talking about doing an interview for years now, but I really felt like the time was never right, I wanted to do something grand for Tom’s first interview, Now that Urban-Muse is an art titan reaching millions of screens across the world every week, it finally seems like now is the time.
Tom is something of an enigma and grants few interviews in fact not a lot is known about him as he is a man who enjoys his privacy. This is a rare glimpse into the mind of this brilliant man. An interview years in the making, Urban-Muse readers…enjoy.
Urban-Muse.com: Finally our Interview comes to fruition. Tom, You are without a doubt probably the most consistently shared and popular artist in the history of Urban-Muse. This site/page are nearly 10 years old this year and Tom Bagshaw has been a part of that since virtually the very beginning. You live in Bath England, what can you tell us about being an Englishman creating art in 2017 that our readers might not know. How has your environment affected your work?
Tom Bagshaw: Thanks to you and Urban Muse for following my work all this time, it’s really appreciated! Well, I’m not sure how much living in England has really affected my work, I’m sure it has to some degree, I’m very fond of landscapes, folklore, ancient monuments, but I’m pretty sure that would be the same wherever I was based! I’ve lived in quite a few areas of the country over the years but have lived in Bath for the longest, it really is a beautiful place.
Urban-Muse.com: You are one of the few artists that are really creating such visually stunning CG/digitally painted works that it becomes hard to differentiate it from actual physical Oil on Canvas works. It’s almost like the term “Trompe-l’œil” but for the digital age. How do you achieve that look? I have to assume you would have to be a talented artist in traditional media as well in order to achieve that kind of a look. But I think it’s very rare for your to ever share traditional media works. Can you talk about how you achieve this look?
Tom Bagshaw: While it’s true that I used to work traditionally (in fact half my life was dedicated to traditional media and the other digital) I really do prefer digital over traditional. To each their own of course, but I felt like digital gave me more flexibility at the same time as more control, it just clicked for me. I don’t think I’ve done any traditional work for about 16 years now. It took me a long time (and I mean years!) to work out how I to finish my works to an almost traditional appearance, it’s reasonably simple when you break it down, it just took a long time to get to that point. 😉
Urban-Muse.com: What is the creative process like for you, is there a certain area of your house you work? What tools do you use, programs, tablet models etc. Any specific tools of the trade?
Tom Bagshaw: I’ve actually had all sorts of workspaces over the years. I went from working in my bedroom (way, way back), then to a shared studio space, than to a corner of our lounge when I first went to digital work, then to a loft conversion where I could really spread out and run a dual monitor setup and have a space for traditional work when needed, then to a small spare room and now I work from our box room, literally big enough for a desk, chair, and bookcase! You work with what you’ve got really.
My tools haven’t really changed much while I’ve been working digitally, I still use Corel Painter as my primary painting app, Photoshop as the base for pretty much everything around the painting process, but I also use things like Artrage, Illustrator, Indesign. I would be lost without my Wacom tablet, of course, as much as I would like a Cintiq, my back wouldn’t appreciate it so I have used the Wacom Intuos line of tablets for my entire digital career.
Urban-Muse.com: Your Artwork is layered with layer upon layer of dense and symbolic imagery. From Studio Ghibli characters inhabiting a forrest with a lovely goddess to demons, blood, pagan imagery, and other occult overtones. Can you talk a bit about the significance of the symbolism in your work?
Tom Bagshaw: I love being able to work with symbology and mythology from a lot of different cultures, being able to weave some of these elements into works, (especially portraiture pieces) it helps me to create a more personal narrative to the piece. It also helps engage the viewer and gets them to come up with their own interpretation, which can be miles off my concept, sometimes in an even better way!
Urban-Muse.com: Many of the women depicted in your works are usually based on top tier AAA fashion models fresh of the runways of New York, Milan, or Paris. How do you select them? I know you have an inspiration blog, but what else goes into it?
Tom Bagshaw: It’s really a personal thing, my own aesthetic of the kind of beauty I want to portray. Sometimes a specific look just sticks and I try to recreate it in my own way, other times it’s really random. I’m also very lucky to have a lot of beautiful female followers who kindly help out with modeling reference when needed.
Urban-Muse.com: If you could talk to your younger self knowing the things you know now, what would you tell them? This could be useful to our readers.
Tom Bagshaw: I dont know whether this would be much use to readers but if there was one thing I wish I could’ve told my younger self it wouldve been: “Do not ignore computers, they will be the way forward, get in there now!”
Urban-Muse.com: What would you say your favorite piece of yours is? What is the most popular of all time?
Tom Bagshaw: Honestly, I really don’t know which is my personal favorite. For the most part, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my work, by the time I’ve finished a piece I’m pretty sick of it (it takes me longer to do a piece than people generally expect) but with time I can look at them a bit more objectively. I think ‘Torn’ from last year is one of my favorites, ‘Frankie’ is still to this day one of the most popular pieces I’ve ever done though!
Urban-Muse.com: What do you do when you encounter an excessively negative and or mean-spirited commenter on your work? What do you do to deal with detractors who only seem to want to tear you down, from all that you have built up? What would your advice to our readers be to deal with types like this?
Tom Bagshaw: First off, people like that are idiots. If you don’t like someone’s work, why feel the need to tell them about it? With all that’s going on in the world they’re going to waste their time on telling someone they don’t know their personal opinion of their work? If you don’t like something, move on. You are not obliged in any way to ‘like’ a piece of artwork, your negativity is certainly unwanted. Talk to any artist who has had someone trying to tear them down, be mean, in some cases- attacking them personally as well as their creativity, that shit is difficult to bear. But when it happens don’t rise to it (unless you really want to waste your own time and energy of course), social media allows us to remove comments, ban users and report abuse. Try not to let it get to you and remove the offender from your world.
Urban-Muse.com: You’ve been involved in some of the biggest and best Gallery shows all over the world with literally the biggest names in the business. Which one(s) stand out the most to you and which piece would you say you were most proud to show?
Tom Bagshaw: I’m lucky to have worked with some amazing galleries over the last few years. I’m always incredibly proud to do the Supersonic Electronic invitational show at Spoke Art Gallery, working with lovely people like Erica at Haven Gallery in NY, but I will always be incredibly grateful to Jan at Corey Helford Gallery for being the first to introduce my work to the American market! As to a favorite show piece, I don’t really know, that’s a hard question!
Urban-Muse.com: You always seem to have a packed schedule and agenda often booked years in advance, but what are some highlights you’re looking forward to in the future?
Tom Bagshaw: I’m actually looking forward to putting together a bigger body of work with a more in-depth narrative, it’s something I’ve been trying to conceptualize over the last year but when you are a full-time artist, other work that hopefully pays the bills has to come first! With any luck though I will be able to bring my plans to fruition later this year!
Urban-Muse.com: Thanks so much for being part of Urban-Muse #1 Tom, you’re the best.
Tom Bagshaw: Thanks Curt
You can follow Tom’s work here: