Tom Bagshaw’s art hits like a dose of ether. Every painting a portrait of darkness behind the enchantment of a rebel fairy tale. The women, whether real or figments of Bagshaw’s imagination, are a combination of 17th century romanticism and underplayed sexuality. When I look at his paintings I see women who are commanding but feminine…a delicate girl in a beautiful dress with a knife in her shoe. Tom Bagshaw gives us the princess we wanted. The one who was sexy, smart, and mystifying. The kind of woman who didn’t need rescued but instead captured the prince.
Ara— I see a lot of fairy tale elements in your work. Is that purposeful?
Tom Bagshaw— Yes, I’m very much drawn to fairy tales, ghost stories, folklore, mythology etc. in various cultures so I generally try to work elements into my work.
Ara— Women are at the epicenter of almost every painting. What sort of women inspire your work?
Tom Bagshaw— Don’t really know how to answer this one. All sorts of women inspire my work, it’s nothing that I could really define but they all have a strength of character–either below the surface or very much in your face and it’s that which is often the inspiration for a new piece of work.
Ara— Are the women real subjects or figments of your imagination?
Tin Bagshaw— In order to produce works that are as realistic as possible, I use lots of references. That’s the starting point at the very least.
Ara— The women in your paintings are portrayed as strong. Did you grow up around strong women?
Tom Bagshaw— No, not really.
Ara— There is an element of darkness in your work. Even the eyes in most of the paintings are a bit haunting. What do you see when you look into the eyes of your subjects?
Tom Bagshaw— It’s that inner strength of character I think. I’ve never really been interested in portraying women as weak or the damsel in distress type stuff!
Ara— What are you trying to convey with the atmosphere in your paintings? For me, it feels like walking through a forest on a foggy night… exciting and a bit dangerous.
Tom Bagshaw— That’s probably one of the best descriptions that I’ve heard. It’s nice to hear how others interpret my work. Yeah, there’s certainly a feeling of underlying darkness in most of my pieces.
Ara— When did you create your first painting?
Tom Bagshaw— I don’t remember when I created my first traditional painting. I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I remember. I created my first digital painting about 12 years ago…I think?
Ara–What inspires you?
Tom Bagshaw— That’s just way too difficult to answer. Anything can give rise to a spark of inspiration. It’s almost always there when you least expect it. I love looking at design, illustration, photography, nature, film, etc. but you can get a spark of inspiration from a cloud or a shadow just as easily as you can get inspiration from looking at an old master’s work.
Ara— How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
Tom Bagshaw— Predominately– female portraiture, with a dark edge. I really don’t know. That’s left for better people than me to decide.
Ara— One painting that you wished you would have painted?
Tom Bagshaw— Probably Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”.
Ara— Where has your work been exhibited and are there any recent exhibitions?
Tom Bagshaw–I’ve shown with some wonderful galleries areound the world including Corey Helford, Roq La Rue, Spoke Art, Bold Hype, Last Rites, Strychnin Gallery, London Miles, and Atomica. I have shows in the next few months at Flower Pepper Gallery, Dream Factory, Last Rites, 423 West, and Matrix fine art.
Ara— Best music to listen to while painting?
Tom Bagshaw— I generally prefer to work in silence but when I do have music on it’s pretty much always on shuffle.