Last week on Instagram artist Tom Bucag posted three artworks for sale.
They were portraits done in Tom’s signature style, those moody muses whose distinctively mysterious gaze makes you wonder: Is she bored? Is he grieving? What are they thinking?
About the Instagram sale Tom said that proceeds will help fund relief efforts through donations to frontliners and selected institutions. Within a day all of the works were sold, much to the disappointment of fans who narrowly missed their chance, myself included.
After congratulating Tom, I took the opportunity to chat with him about inspiration, influences, and his dream commission.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, how you started, and your broader art practice?
“If you were having a career crisis when you were younger, you follow what your parents want. I pursued a degree in Biology hoping to become a doctor but eventually withdrawing from it as soon as I graduated.
“My career in art all started as a mere hobby of sketching physically distorted female subjects until I got offered to illustrate for a newspaper article back then. It went on from there and eventually progressed to larger scale artworks up to where I am now. Aside from creating artworks, I’m also doing graphic design work.”
Which artists or practices have been a major influence on you on working in your current style?
“Claudio Bravo, Brassaï, Otto Dix’s The Journalist, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Francesco Clemente, Bruce Gilden, Jean-Luc Godard, Maria Lani.”
How would you describe the evolution of your practice since you started?
“Definitely by being more confident making art, but still very open to trying new medium to mix with and stressing on it if it doesn’t work. In terms of inspiration, I managed to diversify by looking into graphic design, architecture, and even hair stylists, like Guido Palau and Julien d’Ys.”
The funny thing is, it never usually goes as planned. It’s that exact momentum when you start and stain on that blank paper and everything just follows.
Please take us through your creative process. How do you start working on a piece?
“I usually sit on it for a long time—hours, days, even weeks. Lots of staring at the blank paper until I come up with a good concept for it. But the funny thing is, it never usually goes as planned. It’s that exact momentum when you start and stain on that blank paper and everything just follows.
“You’re put in a situation to think quickly and come up with solutions to make it work. And I think that’s the charm in working with paper. But then again, I still go back to hours and days of procrastination when I start a new one knowing this process of spontaneity will still happen.”
Do you have an unrealized project or a dream commission?
“My top unrealized project would be to showcase my work in a gallery setting. I’ve been dreaming of having one, but in time most definitely! As regards dream commission, a fashion house campaign of my illustrations, similar to what Gill Button did for Dries Van Noten. Also, wouldn’t miss a Criterion movie poster!”
When not making art, what are your usually your preoccupations? Any shows, music, etc., that we should check out?
“I usually binge on movies and stare blankly at the ceiling—nothing exciting at all. For films, check out M by Fritz Lang. And listen to Jessica Pratt while doing chores, ha ha!”