Interdisciplinary New York artist Thomas Bucich, a resident in Australia since 1990 runs a successful art and design practice in Sydney. His work projects range from artwork to custom furniture and architectural design. Thomas breaks traditional boundaries between artistic disciplines; he works in a variety of mediums including cast bronze and stainless steel, carved wood and stone, works on paper and canvas. We talk to him about his distinctive contemporary artwork and the recent opening of his antique store in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, Kings and Cowboys a personal collection from his own travels from the high desert country outside of Santé Fe to the markets of Marrakech and all around the globe.
How did your journey as an artist begin? It began through my childhood obsession with “making things” followed by a voracious appetite for devouring every book I could find on art and architecture in my local library. With a brief period considering dentistry, I got back on course and studied architecture and fine art at Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then, I’ve been professionally creating art and architectural design ever since.
You seem to transition from one project to another, how do they artistically relate to one another? I’ve got one of those brains that loves distraction and gets bored easily. Some might consider it a ‘condition’ and I’m sure there’s a name for it. But it keeps me always open to the next project. After many years of separating my fine art and design practices, I now see them as connected, as different exercises in creativity. The link between them all may not always be a visual consistency, but it’s more of the method I use of starting from scratch with each project to consider and create thematic and physical contexts and then create a piece or a series of works. I see the work in my mind’s eye, then set about making it materialize. Whether assembling and modifying found objects or finding a 5 tonne block of limestone I need to carve – it all starts with the initial quick spark of an idea, and if the idea stays strong for a few days, I’ll then commit to it and put it into action. I think the link is a broad stroke of figurative mixed with expressionism and the act of making.
Your spirit of travel and treasure hunter instincts has led you to open “Kings and Cowboys” a unique antique store, tell us how and why that came about? I’ve always been a ‘collector’ – whether it’s pieces of wood or stone from nature, cowboy boots, Navajo jewellery or antique furniture. I’ve always enjoyed finding pieces, but happy to just live with them for a while, then pass them on. I consider myself more of a steward to these objects than a hoarder. This led to creating both an online and actual shop to share my finds. It allows me to continue to shop and share.
Describe your process when creating art collaborations, and tell us your most memorable collaborative endeavor to date? Funnily, my best collaborations have been with restaurant owners who have asked me to incorporate my art into the spaces I design. It’s come full circle now, where I’m currently designing a new Sydney restaurant based on my artwork and building the environment to support the art. My personal favorite has been working with chef Nico Coccia who created a dessert based on my burnt wood sculptures and charcoal drawings using charcoal and cacao.
“My personal favorite has been working with chef Nico Coccia who created a dessert based on my burnt wood sculptures and charcoal drawings using charcoal and cacao.”
How would you describe your design aesthetic? My design aesthetic is Kings and Cowboys, hence the name for my outlet. It’s the collision of Reverence and Raw brought together through space, color, texture and objects that transcend trends. I prefer to create environments that look like they’ve been slowly developed over long periods of time.
THOMAS BUCICH’S CHECKLIST:
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM CREATIVE COLLABORATIVE ENDEAVOR? Working with other passionate creatives from other disciplines like dance, music or food.
NAME YOUR POISON: Artisanal Mezcal.
IF YOU WERE TO DANCE LIKE NOBODY IS WATCHING, WHAT WOULD BE THE SONG OF CHOICE: Something Cajun.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ARTIST, YOUR CAREER CHOICE WOULD BE? Chef.
FAVORITE ART GALLERY? The Guggenheim, as much for the experience of meandering down the spiral as for the art.
MOST INFLUENTIAL/INSPIRING ARTIST (LIVING/DEAD) AND WHY? Julian Schnabel embodies everything big and bold I was influenced by in NYC, and he succeeds working across disciplines from film to sculpture and painting.
FAVORITE/INSPIRATIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES YOU FOLLOW: Nowness has a great cheeky mix of all things creative.
BEST CAREER ADVICE: Stop thinking and keep making.
UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS/PROJECTS: A restaurant full of wall sculpture that reflects the spirit of the chef. The 12 tonnes of stone in my backyard waiting to be carved.
Australian abstract artist Boe Sapun is the founder and curator of Ecume Gallery. The Melbourne-based gallery represents both local, international, established, and emerging contemporary art. The idea of having great art accessible to a broad audience prompted the online gallery showcasing her own work, as well as a diverse range and ever-growing list of talented contributing artists. Boe’s passion is in discovering creative minds and understanding the finer nuances of their character which influence their process, inspiration, and art. Follow Boe Sapun and Écume Gallery on Instagram and Facebook.