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    Thomas Pontone – Studio Noon

    Thomas Pontone – Studio Noon

    1. Where were you born and where are you from ?

    Red Bank, New Jersey.

    2. What is your first memory connected to the art world ?

    My dad took me to the MET to show me, “the best artist” Rembrandt.

    3. Have you always worked in the art/design field ?

    I’ve always been interested in art, but it wasn’t until I came across Max Lamb and Faye Toogood that I saw the possibilities of functional sculpture.

    4. What led you to the design creation ?

    I would never call myself a designer, in the same way that designers say they would never call themselves artists. But a little while ago, I was lucky enough to have a partner who was super encouraging and explained the design side of things to me. After I understood it better, it became part of my thinking/approach.

    5. How would you describe your creative process and it influences ?

    My process is very obsessive. Something I’ve learned from skateboarding, is that the only way to improve your skill set, is to repeat an action or movement thousands of times. I apply this approach to sculpture. Before I’ve made something, I’ve sketched it many many times. This grants me a familiarity with the form that allows me to shed preciousness from the equation and to not be so concerned with failure. Robert Ryman said he had to waste some paint before he could really make a painting. It’s like that. I don’t know, It’s hard to describe my process because sculpture isn’t really a verbal way of thinking. Balancing or tensions would be the closest word. I look a lot at nature. Plants really are the best sculptures. 

    6. Could you describe a typical day of your work ?

    I drink a lot of tea and decide if I want to be covered in cement dust or foam particles. The work involved in making the pieces is very physical.

    7. Why did you choose the specific materials you work with ?

    I chose cement because of its rich materiality and its visual weight. You can also adjust the color in a way that looks natural.

    8. What are the technical particularities of your creations ?

    The toughest part about what I do, is the balancing act between using a thick enough layer of cement in order for the material to maintain its rigidity, but thin enough so the weight isn’t too restrictive; all the while, perfecting the form in a finite amount of time. The last hour can be very stressful. I really miss working with a material like wood, where I could stop and comeback the next day with fresh eyes. With One-off cement pieces, you only get a few hours to make it happen. It really forces you to be efficient.

    9. What advices could you give to beginning artists who would like to create sculptural design works ?

    The decisions that are made instinctually tend to define you as an artist and the decisions that cause the most turmoil and frustration usually tend to be the least important.

    Small work can carry a lot of intensity through its tactility and intimacy of viewing experience. Making small work also allows you to improve at the same rate as someone making big pieces without the headache and logistics that come with larger work.

    10. If your works had to belong to a design movement, in which one would you define it ?

    Minimalisherismistic

    11. What designers have influenced you ?

    Faye Toogood

    12. What contemporary designers do you appreciate ?

    Valentina Cameranesi Sgroi, Zachary John Martin, Audrey Large.

    13. What contemporary artists (in any kind of art) have you been inspired by ?

    Brancusi, Louise Bourgeois, Jean Arp, Rothko, Rackstraw Downes, Andy Goldsworthy, Matisse, Calder, Baragan. I guess most of those aren’t contemporary.

    14. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be ?

    I don’t know. Balancing rocks.

    15. Is there anything you would like to add ?

    Short cuts are rarely worth taking. Well-being is more important than making good art.

    Proust Questionnaire with very short answers (one or a few words) :
    (The Proust Questionnaire is a set of questions answered by the French writer Marcel Proust. Other historical figures who have answered confession albums are Oscar Wilde, Karl Marx, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Cézanne…)

    1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

    Calm and content with my reality

    2. What is your greatest fear?

    Death

    3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

    My addictive tendencies

    4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

    Inauthenticity

    5. Which living person do you most admire?

    Stacey Peralta

    6. What is your greatest extravagance?

     My art practice

    7. What is your current state of mind?

    I’ve been trying to focus on being present

    8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

    Individualism

    9. What is the quality you most like in a man ?

    Vulnerability

    10. What is the quality you most like in a woman ?

    Vulnerability

    11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

    I say “sick” a lot

    12. Which talent would you most like to have?

    A nice buttery singing voice

    13. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    I wish I could avoid chasing pleasure and let it come and go more

    14. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

    Trying to be a good person

    15. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

     A bird that eats fish

    16. Where would you most like to live?

    The desert

    17. What is your most treasured possession?

    I have a few art works friends have given me that are super important to me

    18. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

    Drug addiction

    19. What is your favorite occupation?

    Skateboarding

    20. What is your most marked characteristic?

    Having strong negative opinions

    21. What do you most value in your friends?

    Honesty

    22. Who are your favorite writers?

     Flannery O’Connor, Young Pueblo, Richard P. Feynman

    23. Who is your hero of fiction?

    Clint Eastwood is pretty good in old westerns

    24. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

    Caravaggio

    25. Who are your heroes in real life?

    My mom

    26. What are your favorite names?

    Lilly, Sebastian, Penelope

    27. What is it that you most dislike?

    Evil people with lots of power

    28. What is your greatest regret?

    Letting tiny problems turn into big ones

    29. How would you like to die?

    Duchamp cracked a big smiled before he died, something like that.

    30. What is your motto?

    The sweetest fruit is at the top of the tree

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