Reason #2 to go to Paris: Artist: Thom Thom

Posted on 03.09.2011

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 Because obviously, the first reason is my favorite Claes and Coosje sculpture, which just happens to live in a park in Paris.

Meet Thom Thom/Thomas Louis Jacques Schmitt/Hephaestus, the French sculptor/artist/urban or street artist.

He works only on billboards, where he cuts, slices, and re-sticks to reconstruct the advertising message.

I couldn’t figure out, at first, exactly how this was happening. I mean, I understood that he was doing his work using billboards. But I couldn’t figure out how he was then selling the pieces, which appear to go for about 2,000 Euros a pop. Not bad, considering you can get a decent Warhol screen (second or third edition) for something like 700 Euros if you know where to look (which I do).

But I couldn’t figure out how they were getting sold. Because in my feeble mind, I imagined him working directly on the billboard in question, but then leaving it there. And when that’s what’s happening, how does one sell the entire billboard?

Luckily, that question has been answered by the video I found on YouTube:

You can check out what appears to be HIS OWN flickr page HERE, or you can just google him and get to see just about every image in the images results.

I’ve included two more that I really like below:

 I think what I love most about these is the complete and utter chance/trust that Thom Thom is working with. What I mean by that is that I’m sure he has NO IDEA what advertisements are below the top one. So as he’s working, he gets to see the images for himself. And if they’re good, they stay. If not, he can just cut lower until he finds something that works.

That’s pretty badass to me, and I don’t think it’s something that many artists choose to work with. When we make art, we have a very specific idea in our heads. So while maybe he sees the image in his own head of where the cuts will be made, I don’t think he can even begin to bother or imagine what’s underneath. He can just hope.

If it were me, I’d try to go in with no expectations at all, like I do for most everything else in my life. I think it would be easy to do after a while.

I’m sure that not all boards are a success, but I doubt that any of them are utter failures.

I love his patterning. It feels very art deco or art nouveau to me, like a stained glass pattern or an old poster.

Totally gorgeous. I’ll definitely be looking for unfinished pieces or him working while I’m there. I have to find out where his favorite spots to work are and stake them out 🙂

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Posted in: art