I arrived at Mr. Wow’s emporium almost 24 hours late.
tohm (he likes his name to be in lowercase) had his 3rd exhibition the day before and I was supposed to document it.
I sent him a text with a lot of swear words just to emphasise how sorry I was to miss it.
He said it’s all fine. And then asked if he could pay me to take photos of his work instead since he had to take them down later that evening.

So I was late, but I had a private viewing of his show.

Did I mention tohm’s a genius? I don’t have any proof, but I’m pretty sure he is.
I’d kill to have his brain capacity or memory or eloquence in the English language or sense of humour.

I like tohm’s story.
He managed to make his old job in Honda redundant by teaching his skills to everyone, quit his job, then travelled around the world.
12 months later, he came back and decided to start drawing.
He started from scratch living in his parents’ garage.
tohm always wonder why I don’t draw more often.
He claims to be jealous of my line work, and I have no idea what he means.

All I know, is that the advertising industry has taught me all the rules, competition, and difficulty of making it as an illustrator.
And I’m simply too scared to draw.
tohm isn’t. And that’s why he is more likely to succeed.

I like tohm’s story better than any art school graduate who just fill out a form and wait for a grant  to do some fancy installation that has a tube tv on the floor.

” Like, what exactly is ‘video art’? Whenever someone says ‘video art’ they seem to have forgotten that there’s this thing called ‘the cinema’,” tohm said while he carefully rotated a giant artwork out of the wall. ” And they’re always exploring some relationship between human and scale, and space, or something.”

Young artists nowadays have nothing to lose, they  follow this formula and cross their fingers; tohm is supporting himself by working at a call centre.

I like tohm’s story better.
In the end he didn’t need anyone’s permission or curation and just started his own show.
Sure he has to hang up and take down his work by himself without any professional framing system, but I’m pretty sure he’s learned more about exhibitions than going to art school.

They say you’re the average of the five people you hang out with.
tohm and I catch up probably every three months.
But that’s enough to make me realise following your passion or desire to create is perhaps more rewarding than money.

I like tohm’s story.

And not just because he treated me a mini burger and fries.

tohm curtis art show's emporiumcolour exhibition tohm curtistohm curtis illustrator portraittohm curtis removing colour artwork huxtaburger and fries