This week I interviewed artist Thomas Cressman on his exhibit at Gatov Gallery East called Living Forms. It is his fifth year hear at CSULB and he is currently majoring in metal work. He was inspired by classes he took his sophomore year in highschol wit a teacher that inspired him to work on metals and his favorite artist is Alexander Calder. Cressman loves working with metal, brass, steel, and copper and a theme that seems to come from this exhibit is aquatic. The Octopus is his favorite marine animal due to its fascinating and intelligent use of tools and camouflage.
It took Cressman three years to make the entire show and one piece could range from a week to a month of focused work and dedication. Is is a long process and everything in there except a few things start out as flat pieces of large metal. From there he takes inspiration from either photos or drawings and develop images in his mind on how he wants to form it. He first practices on paper and then cuts on metal. Following after is the process of kneading the metal to make it into a more malleable substance so it’s easier to hammer and shape. He would then raise it up to a vessel type form to make a shape then add little details, shape, and texture with in and out.
His interests in aquatic life made him create his own abstract interpretations. His favorite piece would have to be the one in the center because it was a “nice surprise” and he happened to discover the type of coloration. Due to it being the biggest scale he’s ever worked with, he had that type of satisfaction. His work is mostly based on illusion but they are some fungi mushrooms that really inspired him while he was young by some scientific aspect of what’s there and how they adapt to survive. He expresses the “whole new world down there then and how we live up here now.”
I really loved his armor piece because it was something I could see in some type of aquatic war as silly as that sounds. I could really feel the aquatic vibe that he was trying to give and it’s amazing that he took something so “earthy” and just changed it into something completely different. He is a truly amazing and dedicated artist and super easy to talk with. I really loved his work!
You can find him on his IG: @thom_cress6