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Anais Nin

Anais Nin Thom Kofoed

London exhibition for local artist

Life-long Hastings resident Thom Kofoed is an artist to watch. With an uncanny talent for capturing the essence of a person in his portraits and 100% dedicated to evolving his craft, Thom is fully committed to his quest to leave an artistic footprint representing his existence on the planet, his values and passions. HOT’s Zelly Restorick  asks about his latest exhibition at The Poetry Society in London, ‘You are an Ocean and I am a Living Thing’, his inspiration and artistic goals.

Tell us a bit about your history in Hastings as an artist… from childhood to now.
I grew up in Hastings and was a pretty artistic child. I didn’t really fit in anywhere and so it was something to escape into. I carried it on through school and went on to study Fine Art at the University of Brighton. I predominately worked in textiles and film during my degree and it really wasn’t until after I graduated that I began to focus on portraiture. I paint and draw and sew and make films now. I’ve always been a fan of 1980s pop culture and so my work developed from there, toeing the line between illustration and fine art painting. Over the last couple of years I’ve gone back to a more formal practice and it’s been a super interesting transition. My work has a certain camp quality to it because of a lot of my subject matter, which I think is maybe interesting.

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell

Tell us about your new exhibition in London. What was your inspiration?

The exhibition is taking place at The Poetry Society in London, right near to Covent Garden. A lady named Alice Watson, who works in education at The Poetry Society came to my exhibition at St Marys and approached me about having a show there. This exhibition is called ‘You are an Ocean and I am a Living Thing,’ which is a line from a poem I wrote a few years ago. It represents my own personal anthology of female poets.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Each of these women explore and interrogate the nature of poetry; through poetry itself or through novel writing, non-fiction writing, visual art, music or comedy. Many of them work across all of these art forms. They each take a radical approach to language and use it to the full extent of its power. They play with words, create incomparable images and tell stories that no one has heard before.

Exhibition title Announcement

Each of these women has also inspired my own work as a writer and an artist. When I was growing up, I wasn’t exposed to the wealth of work being created by female poets. I only knew the very few who were represented in my text books at school and had to go in search of others myself. As I read more, I realised that the white, male monopoly on poetry as an artform had required many women to work outside of classical boundaries, and embed their poems in other artforms. I realised that every time I read a Toni Morrison novel or listened to Joni Mitchell or watched Victoria Wood’s stand-up, I was hearing and absorbing poetry in a powerful and important way. This collection is a celebration of these women.

There will also be a workshop based on the exhibition run by Alice Watson and John Murray in April (the details will be on the Poetry Society website) and I might make an appearance!

The show opens on Monday 19 March and the private view (which is actually open to the public) is on the same day. The Space is open Monday – Sunday and my show will be hanging in the two spaces there for five weeks.

I also spend my time working on commissions and doing some design work, notably for The Jewish Museum in Camden and right here for the Jerwood Gallery.

Victoria Wood

Victoria Wood

How has your style changed since your exhibition at St Mary in the Castle?
I don’t think it’s changed as much as developed. I’ve had another year to improve and I think that shows in the work I’m making now.

What keeps you motivated?
I don’t know how to do anything else. I make work. It’s what I’ve always done in one way or another and I can’t just turn that off. I’m also incredibly disciplined and feel that being an artist is a job and with all jobs there has to be some output.

What are your artistic goals?
I want to get better. I want to keep creating works that have some sort of narrative, however obscure, and I want as many people to see the work I’m making as possible.

Photo Tim Willcocks for his 'One Shot Film Portrait' project

Photo Tim Willcocks for his ‘One Shot Film Portrait’ project

Posted 16:56 Wednesday, Mar 7, 2018 In: Visual Arts

1 Comment

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  1. S.Moore

    What an excellent interview of Thom Koefed by Zelly Restorik. I really like Thom’s work and how refreshing to hear his thoughts on women artists. Like all good interviews it has left me wanting to see the artist and find out more about him. A good read!

    Comment by S.Moore — Thursday, Mar 8, 2018 @ 07:45

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