Art Study: The colorful lines of Tom Veiga

Citing influences from the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer to the organic forms created by Tarsila do Amaral, the work of Tom Veiga taps a rich Brazilian art heritage. You can see it in his big, bright, colors and simple lines. His work is happy, warm and tropical. And while he often experiments by repurposing wood from old fishing boats into new works, it’s the collabs with surf brands like Billabong, Reef, Globe and Lightning Bolt that are most recognized. He’s already already been involved in two projects involving wave pools, but can’t share details as it’s still secret.

In this episode of Art Study we speak with one of Brazil’s most colourful artists.

You can find more of Tom’s work on his website and through his Instagram account.

What are your influences?
I love curves and shapes, my work is based on a lot of movement and colors, the movement that inspires me the most is the architect of the curves, Oscar Niemeyer. Also a little of the organic forms of the Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral, but one of the artists who inspire me the most today are also Californian Jay Alders, I love his work.

What do you hope to achieve with your art – socially or politically?
My work seeks to show the beauty of the beaches and the waves, showing their differences between them, their characteristics and shapes, because each wave around the world is different. It has a big, small, green, blue, fast and slower, hot and colder, each one is different and my work tries to show these differences.

The goal is to make people see that each beach is a different beach, with its beauties and peculiarities, each one is unique and that is why we need to take care of them, preserve and care to be able to maintain it. The main message is environmental awareness. I’ve done projects with environmental preservation organizations in partnership with Save The Waves and Surfrider and my focus is this and through art to bring this reflection.

I’ve had a special job too, a series of surf art that I did with the aim of reusing wood from the artisanal fishing boats of the beach where I used to live. The boats were made of wood and from time to time they took old wood to renovate the boats and threw the old wood away to set it on fire. I took this wood from the trash, and using its original colors and textures I built my vision of the waves. I was able to enjoy the wood and bring life to it through art.

Have you done paintings of wave pools?
Yes, I have already been involved in two projects involving a wave pool, one is still in progress and I cannot disclose it.

Have you ever surfed in a wave pool?
I haven’t had this opportunity yet because here in Brazil there is still no wave pool ready, the first one will be launched in two years, SurfLand in Praia do Rosa.

Your work has a wonderful style where does this come from?
When I started to fall in love with surfing and its culture in 2005 I always wanted to paint waves, but I wanted to draw and paint waves more realistically. I wanted to make paintings as if they were photos, but when I started painting I saw that this was not for me. I couldn’t even paint close to realism and ended up getting very frustrated.

But in this process of discovering art and in the search to express my passion for waves was when my style was born. I started to make waves as I saw them, as I could reflect them and not as they really were, so I didn’t worry about real shapes and I went on my way through playfulness, minimalism and my more tropical style.

Then, from my passion for the sea, my vocation for art was awakened. Through the union between my work as a designer and my passion for the sea my art was born – inspired by the sensations and feelings
that the sea wind, the heat of the sun and the movement of the waves transmit.

How do you navigate the art world to make a living?
As an artist you need to be creative to be able to live from art. I used to work as a designer with internet agencies and my work was born as a hobby. But after I launched my website with my art, the first projects started to appear and in 2012. I made the decision to leave the agency to live from art.

It is necessary to make art bear fruit in many ways, the first was with the life of paintings and posters. So I sell my art in printed and original format.

Also the second way I can profit from art is through collabs with brands, I already had the joy of signing projects with brands like Billabong, Reef, Globe, Lightning Bolt and Havaianas.

And recently I started painting giant murals with my art. And as they are giant projects that involve many people, it ends up costing more. So as an artist I need to be creative in how to make my art profitable.