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Nick Thomm and his 'Tropic Glows'

On November 6th, Manhattan’s Lower East Side will welcome Nick Thomm, the Australian artist whose hallucinatory neon style is making us rethink our digital lives. ‘Tropic Glows’ is the first New York solo show from Thomm and it’s location at 98 Orchard Street is getting an extreme makeover. Taking over two entire floors of the building, the multimedia show will push the boundaries of perception and make you look at pop culture in a completely different light. We caught up with Thomm as he arrived in New York to chat about musical inspirations, generation Y and what the hell ‘digital’ means anyway?

When did you start making art and what inspired your eclectic style?
I only started taking art seriously 2 or 3 years ago when I decided to do my first solo show. I don’t really think about my style that much, I think its the kind of thing if you get really deep about it, then it just becomes this big thing that follows you around and stresses you out when you try to do new things. Then you feel like your cheating on your old style with your new style etc. It’s a bad cycle.

What mediums do you use to create your work? It seems very digital?
I use lots of different techniques. There will be elements that are completely tactile, and elements that are purely digital and I’ll combine these together in different ways. For my upcoming show in New York I’ve really focused on taking that digital style and making it exist away from the screen, to create something that offers much more than just a digital image. The last thing I want people thinking about is a computer screen when they see my work.

‘Tropic Glows’ is your first solo show in NYC – it is described as "a comment on, and reflection of a generation that has lived their entire lives hyper-connected and online." What do you mean by that?

(laughs) I suppose that’s the special press release version of saying this body of work is a reflection of a generation that creates and expresses themselves almost entirely online. Those influences are all natural to most of us, but at the same time they come from a place that only our generation has experienced for the entire length of our lives, and that’s something that is so unique. It’s not often that an entirely new medium comes along, and it’s even rarer to get the opportunity to be the first generation to truly embrace it. I think the documentation and creation of art right now is so important, as we are the first to use technology in such a unique way, and generations to follow will adapt from this. Hopefully I’ll make something worth looking at long after I’m dead.

How would you describe ‘Tropic Glows’ in a sentence? And where did the name for the show come from?

The exhibition explores the limits of new media and its role in art. The name Tropic Glows is used to give a literal description towards the visual feeling of the works in the show.

Who or what would you love to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate more with musicians. I feel like there is so much to do at the intersection of art and music as a live experience. There are some people doing really cool stuff, but when I see bands with just like basic video loop back drops it’s such a wasted opportunity to do something new. I’ve been working on some live visual that I’ll hopefully get to share soon, and the ‘Tropic Glows’ show has a whole basement level of projections which is the first time I’ve ever exhibited any video work.

Do you feel your work is received differently in different countries?

So far it has been pretty similar. I think that’s what this new media style of work is all about. I hate the label digital art, and my work is much more than that, but as a starting point it a very universal medium. It’s understood by people all over the world and there isn’t a massive style barrier between countries with digitally inspired art. I’ve sent lots of work to countries that I never imagined would connect with my work, it’s exciting to know that there are people out there, all over the world can connect with what you do.

What’s next for Nick Thomm?

Opening my next solo show on Nov 6th in NYC. Then I’ll be focusing on some more public art projects over December, Jan and Feb. Before I start working on my next solo exhibition in 2015.

Show Opens November 6th @ 7PM: 98 Orchard St, Lower East Side, NYC. Exhibition runs until November 18th. Open 7 Days 12PM – 7PM

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