Five questions to Thomas Scerri

Five questions to Thomas Scerri

At the intersection between 3D sculptures and 2D paintings or drawings, Thomas' works oscillate between neo-surrealism and minimalism. The artist was born in 1990 and lives in Malta. 

How did you get into art?

My father is a practising artist and ceramicist who also teaches art and design, so I was practically born in the arts. In my childhood, I was exposed to the local art scene and met many great local artists. As I grew older, my interest in cars and machinery led me to study mechanical engineering. However, after obtaining a Higher National Diploma, I was convinced that my true passion was in the arts. I therefore returned to study art and design, where I obtained a Diploma in Design Foundation Studies in 2014, a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts in 2017 and a Master of Arts in Digital Arts in 2019 at University of Malta. 



How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

My early work was heavily influenced with my background in mechanical engineering. In fact, my primary medium was metal which I still use frequently today. During this time, my work had a neo-surrealist feel to it, but as my work progressed, I started moving more towards minimalism - a discipline which highly reflects my introverted nature. This work is a constant search towards visual harmony and cleanliness. In doing so, I often explore environmental themes and often contrast the man-made with the natural.  

How do you go about developing your work?

There is no strict pattern in how I execute the work as this depends on the project I would be working on. At times, the concept would drive the final work, but more commonly I let the material dictate the form. In my later projects, the body of work would consist of a combination of 3D sculptures and 2D paintings or drawings. Exploring a theme in both 2D and 3D gives me better room for experimentation. It is a process of going back and forth between sketching and drawing and modelling where the drawings would influence the sculptures and vice versa. 

Who or what influences you?

My influences are endless. There are several contemporary artists I follow such as David Umemoto and Simon Oud, and other influences would include Henry Moore, David Smith and Antony Gormley. However, these are just a few. I am heavily influenced by the urban environment which makes up most of the landscape in my local context. Occasionally, I also tend to get influences from unconventional sources I come across at the time.  

Make us curious. What is planned next?

At the moment I am working on a body of work entitled ‘Appoġġi’ which in construction terms, refers to the common wall between buildings. This project makes reference to the soaring construction taking place in Malta, where these walls are appearing everywhere. This work is a process of attempting to make peace with this radical change in the island.