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

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

As an alternative of mastering landscapes, he mentioned he turned poorly good at drawing.

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

“However I maintain attempting 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 among Tom O’Hearn’s work from his present gallery, Growth 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 previous doodles.

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

“I believe I painted 30 bathrooms round Hobart, possibly extra. Numerous bathrooms,” he mentioned.

“I would like to color museums however I will take what I can get.”

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

Celebrating imperfections

O’Hern believes the world is simply too busy for every thing to be excellent.

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

“Every thing is printed by computer systems, every thing 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 fascinating.

“Everybody has forgotten that drawing exists ceaselessly and everybody ought to be capable of 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 typically seems like he is writing.

“Like after I draw a chicken or one thing it would not appear to be I am attempting to attract a practical chicken and get each feather good, it looks like a brief hand,” he mentioned.

“It feels just like the beginnings of latest 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
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 Methods to Draw Actually Unhealthy.


However all contributors had been good drawers.

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

“For extra skilled individuals, it is all in regards to the irony of changing into an skilled and having all that have and data and that creativity can get in the way in which since you’re coming from it from truly realizing the reply.

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

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

“I appear to assault them in utterly other ways and I am certain it scares the purchasers,” he mentioned.

Everyone seems to be born an artist

O’Hearn went to high school at Gilston Bay Excessive College on the east shore of Hobart after which Rosney School earlier than artwork faculty.

He is been making artwork ever since.

“Everybody actually begins out with artwork, it is simply that most individuals cease getting concerned with 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 Competition.(Provider: Terrapinn Puppet Theater)

He mentioned that “compulsion and an habit to unhealthy drawing” saved him going.

Early in his profession he moved to Melbourne, discovered to reside very 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 unique 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 road artwork utilizing stencils and spray paint.

“It was a totally completely different factor I used to be attempting 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 folks appear to understand the time it takes to do one thing.

“The very first thing individuals ask after I present some art work 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, generally issues take me a lifetime and generally they do not, and infrequently issues which are accomplished shortly I believe are literally higher.”

It could be laborious to justify, he mentioned, however it took 20 years to work on this craft.

Growth Steer

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

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

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

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

“I spent plenty of time in very chilly studios whipping myself up, the place I may be on the seaside to take issues straightforward and go swimming,” he mentioned.

His different main mission 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 Competition.(Provided: Mel Schmeider)

Kids know what they’re doing

Tom O'Hearn stands and crosses his arms in front of the entry for the Ramsay Art Award, a mosaic of caricatures together
Along with his Ramsey Artwork Prize entry drawings from Apocalypse in 2020, Tom O’Hearn says 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 comfortable 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 attempting to do,” he mentioned.

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

“she’s excellent.”

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