We had the good fortune of connecting with Tom Stockman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tom, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think making art and putting it out in the world and tying it to your identity like we here are all doing has a certain element of risk to it. It takes time, energy, money and over the course of years you’ll see a different kind of life for you emerge. The artists watch doors close, the money dwindles. Even if art is strictly a hobby for you, something on the side, it takes so much of your time, the pursuit of excellence in the work of art demands so much from you. I mean just dumb material things, like I just spent my entire stimulus check on art making tools. I’m like broke, you know? But I’m looking around and taking stock and I’m telling myself well I’ve dedicated my life to the arts and it’s not going to pay off period if I don’t pour more into it than I can necessarily afford to. I feel like I’m risking a part of my life in a serious way just striving to see my work look better.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It’s really embarrassing to have to write this down, but I’m an avant-garde multimedia artist, my name is Tom Stockman, it’s nice to meet you, and please follow me on, like, Twitter and Instagram and honestly youtube if you can find it. I draw, and I paint, and I write poetry, and I sing, and I’m going to start making these beautiful little cartoons soon and so you should watch that spot. I come from a long tradition of modern artists, still working through Rimbaud’s demand, “one must be absolutely modern, never mind hymns of thanksgiving: hold on to a step once taken.” I have a hard time talking about what I’m trying to accomplish, I do like to let the art speak for itself but it hasn’t, yet. But there is a lot coming and if you pay attention I think you’ll find really striking images in my feed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
What is there to do in Atlanta? Covid threw out the city I knew in a lot of ways and it hasn’t replaced it, yet. But one of the crazy things about Atlanta is what everyone says about it, it’s barely a city, it’s a stronghold in the middle of a forest. When you’re here you’re always a short drive away from something beautiful, the Chattahoochee river or one of a million hidden away campfire spots. I’d say go grab some beer and some wings from an American Deli and find a creek to hang out at, it’s summer.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I love thanking people so first I’d like to thank you for asking me to thank the other people in my life. I’d like to shout out the suburban Atlanta youth arts initiatives that connected me with a series of mentors when I was a young adult, especially Don Brainerd of the Theater Arts Conservatory. And I’d like to recognize everyone who helped me in my journeys to the East, from Huaiyu Wang of the ACPA, it’s impossible to conceive of my life as it is if I’d never met him, to the government of the People’s Republic of China (for all the money) and the Fùdàn Dàxué faculty, especially Tongdong Bai. International relations with China are as tense as they’ve been in decades and now more than ever it’s important to recognize the hard work diplomats and cultural attaches perform in normalizing cross cultural pollination.
Tom Stockman. Samm Severin