Growing up in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand inspired Tom Burnett to explore and record first-hand the beauty of the natural world. Setting sail with friends on weekends in an old-style Mullet boat built by his father, Tom fished and dived for food, drank water from springs and slept under the open sky.
Alongside the natural environment, Tom is inspired by the 19th century doyens of art including the paintings and cut-outs of Henri Matisse and the woodblock prints of Utagawa Hiroshige. He also draws inspiration from the pared-back aesthetic and clear colour palettes of the mod 20th century work of David Hockney
Tom’s artistic signature is his own. Masterful use of colour, simplified forms and painterly detail to create artwork that is at once fresh, peaceful and joyous. Tom captures the colour of life. Beautiful moments in time – for all time.
In the age of digital print, Tom chooses the ancient silkscreen technique to make his art because every piece is lively, and subtly different. He mixes each colour, intuitively, and lays them onto the paper through the silk screen, one by one, waiting for each colour to settle and dry before laying down the next.
It is a time-intensive and physically demanding process, requiring masterful technique to choreograph the subtle variations in paint density, intentional colour spacing and overlap, and variations in the cotton rag paper.
The resulting artworks reflect the experience of the artist, master of the silkscreen, and the beauty of chance occurrences choreographed into every work.
Tom has become known as a leader in the art of the silkscreen with his work represented in collections across the world including showing and the National Pavilion in Ottawa, Canada, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMAT) Tokyo, Japan, where his work is held in permanent collection.