YORK punk expressionist artist, designer, playwright, theatre director and tutor Tom Wilson is exhibiting his riots of colour at City Screen Picturehouse for the first time with sale proceeds going to MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians).
Thirty-five works are on display in the café bar at the Coney Street cinema in York, priced at £175 to £700.
“My art looks like an explosion,” says Wilson, whose dynamic abstract art is influenced by Kandinsky, Max Earnst, Otto Dix, Outsider art, German Expressionism and Rayonism (Russian Expressionism).
“When my last exhibition was on at St Bede’s, in Blossom Street, last September, I got in touch with as many York artists as I could to network with them and to try and raise the awareness of my charity too, with sale proceeds being donated in aid of the Ukrainians now living in York who needed support,” says Tom.
“As part of my networking campaign, I went to see some of the art being shown at City Screen and spoke to the manager, Cath Sharp. We fixed a date for me to show my art there too, which was incredible.”
In the lead-up to this summer’s show, Tom attended as many exhibitions at City Screen as he could to garner ideas of how to present and promote his work. “When my time for showing arrived, I decided to donate the funds raised this time to MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians),” he says.
“It’s a great cause, particularly right now. Harrowing and tragic and barbaric things are going on while the rest of the world looks the other way. It breaks my heart, it really does.”
For his City Screen debut, Tom had 300 bookmark-sized cards printed, along with two 6 by 27-inch banners. “I also decided to paint a banner to cover the central wall in the City Screen café bar, painting it in my own style to really try to grab people’s attention as they eat their couscous and toasted cheese wraps,” he says.
“I’m quite proud of it actually. Needs must and necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, or as Frank Zappa said!”
Tom had first started to paint 20 years, and after a long hiatus, he picked up the brushes once more when his younger brother, Stephen, died. “I’ve been painting for a while now and find it very cathartic and relaxing,” he says.
“I do believe very strongly that art in any form can have a transformative and spiritual power, the power to heal and cultivate emotional awareness, insights, and imbue self- esteem.
“I don’t have a studio, I paint at home, and as a result my kitchen is like a bomb site, but a productive bomb site. Now, as a way of clearing some of my artwork out of my house – I can’t move for paintings and junk – I thought it would be a positive gesture to hang some paintings in this wonderful space at City Screen and donate any monies to Medical Aid for Palestinians, having already held exhibitions for the Haiti Earthquake Disaster Fund and Ukrainians now living in York.”
Tom has been networking latterly with “the fabulous fraternity of artists” a few doors along from City Screen at the Fabrication art shop in Coney Street. “That could well be my next project, showing my art there and making a documentary about this amazing franchise and amalgam of various and diverse artists, all supporting each other and rising from the pandemic like phoenixes from the fire,” he says.
“It’s a real community culture, which in fact has been going for over 12 years now. They have a branch in Leeds and this thriving one in York too.”
Tom is delighted with the response to his City Screen show, which features new works alongside “huge favourites”. “It’s getting lots of attention from other artists and also from cinema and theatregoers alike,” he says.
“It’s on for another few weeks and it would be great to see more and more people visit this warm, friendly and aesthetically pulsating venue.”
To purchase any of his works, Tom can be contacted on 07570 020694 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Wilson: the back story
ORIGINALLY from Salford, Greater Manchester, Tom has lived and worked in York for 16 years.
Played in a rock’n’roll band for a few years in the 1980s. Studied drama and art at Dartington College of Arts and became a drama teacher after stints of acting. Continues to write and direct for film and theatre, staging his anarchic farce The Local Authority at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, in August 2021.
Spent more than 20 years living and working in London with individuals who struggled with drug and alcohol problems. His outreach and project work in the mental health field included rough sleepers, street drinkers and ex-prisoners.
Started painting 20 years ago, doing so obsessively for four years but then stopping. Re-started after the death of his younger brother, Stephen.
Likes Russian Rayonism, Surrealism, Outsider art and the work of Egon Schiele, Paul Klee, Otto Dix, Francis Bacon, Paul Cezanne, Gustave Dore, Wassily Kandinsky, Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Félicien Rops, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Cy Twombly, Gerhard Richter, Richard Dadd and Robert Lenkiewicz.
Tom Wilson’s exhibition runs at City Screen Picturehouse, Coney Street, York, until July 29.