Artist in Focus: Tommy Hartung

August 7, 2020

Keeping with our virtual conversations, we have been checking in with our artists to understand how the recent pandemic has influenced their studio life and routine. This time, we spoke to Tommy Hartung to get a glimpse of the artist’s studio, work, and thought process.

HOW DO YOU DRINK YOUR COFFEE?
It’s really difficult to answer this question. Mainly because I live in a failed state run by a capitalist white supremacist regime and the world is reeling from a pandemic. So coffee is the least important or interesting thing to know about me.

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BECOME AN ARTIST?
I told my parents when I was 12. Before that, I thought being a mad scientist was a realistic possibility.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST FASCINATED BY THESE DAYS?
Coyotes. My new film is an animated VR interactive film about a family of coyotes. I spend much of my time these days in bushes talking to them.
DO YOU HAVE A STUDIO ROUTINE? WHAT IS IT LIKE?
Art is life and it happens anywhere and everywhere.

CHOOSE AN OBJECT IN YOUR STUDIO THAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU. WHAT MAKES IT MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN OTHERS?
I am very superstitious about objects and try to not get attached to one over another.

WHAT ARTISTS OR ARTWORKS ARE YOU MOST INFLUENCED BY?
Stalker by Andrei Trakovsky.
WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?
The Montessori Toddler by Simone DaviesWHICH CITY WOULD YOU SAY HAS IMPACTED YOUR ARTISTIC PRACTICE, AND HOW?
Jerusalem helped me realize that New York is an illusion of illusions. That a real city holds people and histories together even if its intense and tedious. It can be small but, the histories are even more powerful.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU MADE IN YOUR LIFE?
I am not sure mistakes or regrets are possible. We act and sometimes regret actions. Yet to error is human right? If we learn from a mistake then the mistake was part of the process of learning something new. So mistakes are just the beginnings of the new you.

ANY ONLINE RECOMMENDATIONS?

Doing some very interesting things with Snark Art.Hartung is also currently working on a new project titled Anastasis. The work is an immersive, stop-motion, feature-length film that para-fictionalizes narratives of early Neolithic resurrection myths and the creation of ritual objects. While the lives of Neolithic creators are illumined by their architecture, sculpture and burial practices, little is known about these objects as they predate any writing or pottery. The project is largely based on the artist’s  in-depth examination of artifacts uncovered at Ain Ghazal, Jordan.

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