in conversation with: Thomas Langley

Thomas Langley’s work is like a reality check – an honest and often brutal depiction of the human condition and the realities of life. A student artist of the Royal Academy of Arts, Langley’s life mantra is to ‘make do’ – and we believe he has more up his sleeve.

Since we are not able to do a studio visit to your studio, can you tell us about your workspace?  

I work between London and Lisbon and lately have been working a lot in borrowed spaces and residency type situations.

 

​Can you please describe your artwork as if you were talking to someone who can’t see?    

Painting and sculpture mostly about my personal experiences rendered in colourful spray and re-appropriated objects.

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"Stuff is Tuff", 2018

You often used a pastel color as the background in contrast with bold and bright shades to fill your canvas. Is there any particular reason why you choose to play around with these colors? And what does the color mean to you?

Hard truths in pastel become palatable and at the same time unnerving, which for me brings a tension. Lately I’ve been mixing this with electric neon for a jarring contrast.

 

Do you have a routine/ritual before your start working on your art? Coffee? cigarettes? Vaping? beer?

Fags.

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"Mummy's Boy", 2019

 

We love your ‘Mummy’s boy’ series, it’s so personal and raw. Does it have anything to do with adulting? What does this series mean to you?

It’s about addressing the notion of a parental shift that happens when you reach a certain age. Also working through real life concerns and working-class aspirations.

What was it like studying under the Royal Academy? Does it change your practice in general?

The royal academy is a game changer in many ways, it’s a great place to focus on what’s crucial in the work and cut through any baggage you might need to shake off.

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"Something Proper", 2018

 

​As a born and bred Londoner, what’s the weirdest thing that you ever encounter in the streets of London?

The Queen. 

 

Do you have a life motto? What would it be?

Make work.

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"Paper Banger"

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Do you have any life soundtrack? Like when …  comes in ‘you imagine yourself in a mosh pit fighting for your life’, kind of song.

Green onions - booker t and the mg’s.

 

What is the most exciting thing for you in 2020?

Working on a print residency to produce my first published book with the amazing Stolen Books in Lisbon

All photos courtesy of the artist.