Thursday, February 16, 2012

Side by Side. Brothers Tom and James

Tom and James are brothers who have been working side by side since the beginning of their lives. James was born in 1977 and Tom was born in 1981 with Downs Syndrome. We are thrilled to have their collaborative work in the pages of the upcoming Treasure Maps edition of BIG Kids Magazine due to be launched April 1st. If you have not yet subscribed you can pre-purchase your copy HERE

 James tells us a little bit about their extraordinary shared practice:

Once we start drawing together it is a simultaneous work, reaching over each other, we often hand each other different pens or take over finishing shapes that the another has started. We are starting to learn each other's symbols and sometimes it feels like our set of codes is building into a strong language which we can both utilize across the page. We often make jokes while we draw. Tom will say what he has drawn and I'll respond to that, or i'll ask him what the drawing is about and he'll tell a great little story. I love this idea that he has a whole set of personal codes that an outsider can't necessarily see.

It wasn't until recently that we formalized the process of making works that were ready for exhibition. This was the first time we took our casual collaborative art making really seriously.

I like that Tom really loosens me up. Drawing all day as a career, I often get a bit tight in my work, so it's great to draw without thinking, to really free everything up. I think Tom really appreciates the encouragement and understanding he gets from it, he obviously loves creating things and is proud of the finished projects, but he has trouble starting major works by himself. I think I bring a bit of well needed discipline, so we can make large scale interesting work together. Tom gets on obsessive tangents and will draw one particular thing for a while whereas I'd rather he keep it moving. But we are both interested in obsession so I love that side of him also.
 I think we evenly pull the works in different directions.
 Visit Tom and James Draw to see more of their gorgeous side by side work and you can find out more about James and his diverse creative worlds here.

Acrylic, collage, pencil, ink and pen on paper. Tom&James 2011

 Tom&James 2011

Tom&James 2011


  1. This realy makes my heart soar! Well done to Tom and James. I am a mother of a young man (19) who has Downsyndrome and this is very encouraging to me. He has entered his work and story in the treasure maps as well. His twin sister is an artist about to launch into university and I would love to see them working side by side. xxCorrina.

    1. So wonderful Corrina! just found your comment hiding in our system, such an awesome sibling collaboration, yes. We hope your son loves his map printed on our tiny gallery page!


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