Artist Talk with Tom Oreel
IMG_4190.jpg

'Come closer and see, see into the trees', 2021

Acrylic on canvas

100x120cm

Tell us about yourself.

I am Tom Oreel, born in Amstelveen in 1991 and now live in Amsterdam. I am a painter and a PhD student in Psychology. I like to take long walks, bike through Amsterdam at night, play basketball and read about history.  

Where did your passion for art begin?

Like most kids I enjoyed drawing. I think what I liked about drawing was that I didn’t have to talk to people, I could escape in my own world where I was boss. 

My passion for making art as Art started three years ago. I was not really happy and thought it would be a good idea to learn something new, to make stuff of my own. I choose drawing because it’s simple and materials are easily available; I knew how to hold a pencil and had lots of paper at home. After one year of drawing I decided to try out painting. Initially I was a bit hesitant to try out painting. I only looked at painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer and they made me feel a bit overwhelmed, it looked too complicated and technical to try. But then I saw Matisse, he was my gateway drug. His paintings look simple and playful. I thought I can do the same, so I gave it a try. 

IMG_4193.jpg

How would you describe your work to someone?

Unrealistic depictions of humans, animals and/or plants in some situation. 

 

What are you currently working on?

Painting humans and animals. The subject doesn’t really matter that much, I want my paintings to have a certain atmosphere. Something that is not too obvious, you feel something going on but you can’t really put your finger on it. I like to play with this. 

'Along the Nile', 2021

Oil on canvas

60x70cm

When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?  

This is what usually happens. It starts with a basic idea, like I want to paint a crocodile. Then I pick some colours and start painting a crocodile. This first image gives me a point of reference so I have something to work with. After this it’s basically trying out different things; removing things I don’t like, adding things I might like. When the image becomes too obvious or starts to look deliberate, I add some randomness to stir things up a bit. When the image becomes too messy, I add some order to make it more obvious. It’s constantly a back-and-forth between these two I think. Eventually I want my painting to look effortless, but not too effortless. Too effortless is boring, just like a fully IKEA-decorated home is also boring. There has to be some struggle and doubt in a painting. 

Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?

Matisse and Tal R for their use of colour and how they apply the paint. Picasso for his curiosity. Danny Fox for the way he tells a story and also his use of colour. Van Gogh and Hockney inspired me to look more carefully at the things around me. Rembrandt for his sketches. I also look a lot at Medieval European art, it’s powerful and absurd, it tells a story, and I like the flatness of it. Finally I also admire the honesty and intensity of Ian Curtis, it motivates me.

IMG_4191.jpg

'Monday morning', 2021

Oil on canvas

70x80cm

What are your plans for the remainder of this year?

Force myself to work in series and I would love to make ceramics and sculptures.