Tom Anders grew up surrounded by traditional art, but has established himself as one of the most exciting young digital artists on the internet
A self-taught designer, filmmaker, Illustrator and photographer, Tom Anders is bristling with creativity, no matter the project. His energy for art is clear: “You might think I’m weird,” he says, “But running around with a camera on an Icelandic glacier is my idea of heaven.”
I’m not really too sure. I’ve always been interested in anything and everything. I was never too bothered about traditional art; I was always fascinated by digital, and as I started finding tutorials online and learning new things, one thing just led to another. Platforms like YouTube, Lynda and various magazines taught me everything I could have learned at college, if not more. I have a real passion for learning new things too.
I’m half-Finnish, half-British and have been surrounded with a Scandinavian influence from a young age, with both parents filling the house with works from various artists. They tried desperately to get me to take an interest in art, and I’ve learned to appreciate Scandinavian design, whether it is Alvar Aalto’s glasswork or even a humble Ikea chair. I’m still more wooed by a stunning photograph or Photoshop piece though – sorry, mum and dad!
Photoshop and Illustrator are the two linchpins behind my creative process, yes. My sketches resemble that of a four-year-old child, so let’s say just I’m lucky to be born in the digital era! Over the years, I’ve taught myself how to use Photoshop, plus other Adobe programs because that’s the industry standard. As a photographer, I find a good camera to take pictures will bring a different perspective. I also use a Wacom Intuos 13”.
Adobe first got in touch about a creative conference in London. They wanted me and 10 other artists to take part in a Creative Jam, a two-hour design challenge. I ended up being well beaten by Edward Monaghan, but the experience was one that will live with me for a long time. I was lucky enough to be invited to a second Adobe Creative Jam, and after an audience vote, I was awarded the winner for my Take Risks piece.
The brief for my Take Risks piece was to create an artwork on ‘Your creative muse’, in two hours – never have I worked faster! I decided quickly that my muse or my biggest influence were risk takers; people who stick their neck out and do something nobody else thought possible. It was a little after the time Felix Baumgartner had done his heroic space jump, and as an avid fan that’s what I tried to depict, as a message to take risks and conquer your fears.
My ‘When I’m A Dad’ project was born from an initial brief of envisaging yourself in 10 years’ time. I designed a book and a website (www.whenimadad.com) containing illustrations of things I’m going to do when I’m a dad, and I encouraged other people to get involved and chip in with their ideas. I got the project trending on Reddit, and a couple of design blogs helped spread the word to make it a collaborative work. I was awarded a D&AD Black pencil for the project, along with the accolade of European design student of the year by the Art Directors Club of Europe.
If only I knew. I’m a huge fan of travelling, and documenting my adventures, so I’ve had commissioned travel films from Morocco and Iceland, and there’s one in Gran Canaria that I’m going to make this Christmas. There’s something so refreshing about discovering a new culture! Further down the line, I have plans to go into the advertising industry somewhere, and one day I’d love to start my own business or agency. Honestly, as long as I’m happy and given the opportunity to work on exciting creative projects I don’t mind where I end up!