Tasmanian painter Tom O’Hearn talks about how he became ‘good at drawing really bad’

Artist Tom O’Hearn says he is probably to earn more money heading out into the wilds of Tasmania with some oils than his artwork path is.

As a substitute of mastering landscapes, he mentioned he turned poorly good at drawing.

“I like being out within the wild someplace with an enormous canvas smudged with oil paints,” O’Hearn mentioned. ABC Radio Hobart.

“However I hold making an attempt and it would not actually work.”

Black and white painting sitting on the grass with a bucket of water next to it with paintbrushes
One in all Tom O’Hearn’s work from his present gallery, Increase Steer.(Provided: Tom O’Hearn)

The Hobart artist is an illustrator, drawer, mural artist, and even an animator – suppose Mambo meets the place wild issues are mixed with some good outdated doodles.

Over the previous 15 years, the 37-year-old’s work has develop into prolific round Hobart, along with his quirky murals showing in colleges, cafes, boats, inside nightclubs, alleys and naturally – bathrooms.

“I feel I painted 30 bathrooms round Hobart, possibly extra. A lot of bathrooms,” he mentioned.

“I might like to color museums however I am going to take what I can get.”

A mural of a large face showing his teeth
Tom O’Hearn’s murals are a well-recognized sight round Hobart.(Provided: Tom O’Hearn)

Celebrating flaws

O’Hern believes the world is just too busy for all the things to be excellent.

“Everybody seems for the right stuff on a regular basis,” he mentioned.

“Every part is printed by computer systems, all the things is on a display and flat.”

Black and white drawing of a wooden house
Tom O’Hern spent a month on an island producing works for his gallery.(Provided: Tom O’Hearn)

He says it is errors and flaws that make life attention-grabbing.

“Everybody has forgotten that drawing exists endlessly and everybody ought to have the ability to do it.

“However in some unspecified time in the future we turned self-conscious about it. We get upset if one thing would not appear to be an image.

Ohearn’s drawing usually seems like he is writing.

“Like after I draw a chook or one thing it would not appear to be I am making an attempt to attract a practical chook and get each feather excellent, it appears like a brief hand,” he mentioned.

“It feels just like the beginnings of recent hieroglyphs and I am discovering a sort of written language that does not but exist.”

A man wearing a mask paints a mural on the wall
The murals make up a lot of Tom O’Hern’s work.(Provided: Mel Schmeider)

Be taught to attract badly

Final weekend, O’Hearn ran a workshop referred to as Easy methods to Draw Actually Unhealthy.


However all members have been good drawers.

“For many who are beginning out,” he mentioned, “I mentioned to cease being so treasured about it.”

“For extra skilled folks, it is all concerning the irony of turning into an skilled and having all that have and information and that creativity can get in the best way since you’re coming from it from truly understanding the reply.

“However it’s higher to be open and never know what the reply is.”

A lot of his work is generic murals, and he treats each otherwise.

“I appear to assault them in fully alternative ways and I am positive it scares the purchasers,” he mentioned.

Everyone seems to be born an artist

O’Hearn went to highschool at Gilston Bay Excessive Faculty on the east shore of Hobart after which Rosney Faculty earlier than artwork college.

He is been making artwork ever since.

“Everybody actually begins out with artwork, it is simply that most individuals cease getting concerned in artwork in some unspecified time in the future,” he mentioned.

A man standing on an orange cement truck with a scary face drawn on its side
Tom O’Hearn painted a cement truck for the Terrapinne Puppet Theater as a part of the Mona Fuma Pageant.(Provider: Terrapinn Puppet Theater)

He mentioned that “compulsion and an dependancy to unhealthy drawing” stored him going.

Early in his profession he moved to Melbourne, discovered to reside cheaply and labored in chilly, leaky warehouses.

Wide shot of a man standing in front of a large colorful mural in a warehouse
He says he takes a special strategy each time he takes on a brand new mural.(Provided: Nick Hanson)

His first exhibition was in 2005 in Hobart with another artists and was primarily based on graffiti and avenue artwork utilizing stencils and spray paint.

“It was a totally totally different factor I used to be making an attempt to do on the time,” he mentioned.

A black board for a boat, which is in progress on a table outside
Tom O’Hearn says he discovered to work extra immediately than when he began out as an artist.(Provided: Tom O’Hearn)

He mentioned that individuals appear to understand the time it takes to do one thing.

“The very first thing folks ask after I present some paintings is how lengthy one thing took, and I actually really feel prefer it doesn’t make it higher if it takes so lengthy,” he mentioned.

“I attempt to undo it, typically issues take me a lifetime and typically they do not, and sometimes issues which might be completed rapidly I feel are literally higher.”

It could be arduous to justify, he mentioned, but it surely took 20 years to work on this craft.

Increase Steer

O’Hearn’s present solo exhibition Increase Steer within the Bett Gallery shows the works he produced on “Secret Island” over the course of a month.

“I’d paint a day, typically two,” he mentioned.

“It was a very cool method of working. No graphics, no fixing something, simply see what occurs.

Greater than half of them have been bought, a feat not misplaced on an artist who did the arduous work.

“I spent lots of time in very chilly studios whipping myself up, the place I is also on the seashore to take issues straightforward and go swimming,” he mentioned.

His different main challenge in the meanwhile is a public artwork piece commissioned by Hobart Metropolis Council.

A man in a plastic suit holding a paintbrush on a pole paints an orange mural on the wall
This mural was a part of the Junction Arts Pageant.(Provided: Mel Schmeider)

Kids know what they’re doing

Tom O'Hearn stands with his hand folded in front of the entry for the Ramsay Art Prize, a group of cartoons decorated with mosaics together
Tom O’Hern says, along with his Ramsay Artwork Award entry drawings from Apocalypse in 2020, everybody ought to draw.(ABC Arts: Sia Duff)

He believes that younger kids are the perfect at drawing college students.

“You do not really want to inform them something, they already know what to do,” he mentioned.

“I do not know when self-awareness will stabilize.

He’s very completely satisfied to see his daughter paint.

“I used to be simply an image of an owl my daughter drew, and that is precisely what I am making an attempt to do,” he mentioned.

“It is only a massive free-wheeling owl that I might spend all day working myself on one thing like that.

“she’s excellent.”

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