Tom Polo talks us through some of his 'Favourite Fings'

· Thursday March 10, 2016

Tom will be painting most days in the foyer of AGNSW, responding to the faces, moods and words of his surroundings in real time, covering the walls with his particular brand of casual wit and incandescent colour. You can go and stare at him while he paints for the next few days and whisper menacingly “put me in it” or simply strike up a real conversation.

Tom sent through a few things he considers to be 'masterpieces', potentially in response to all the gawking he's been at the receiving end of for the past week. Please turn your gaze to his 'Favourite Fings'.

These are a few of my favourite fings:


I don't think I have a favourite artist but I can't deny that Pablo Picasso is in my 'Top 5', probably alongside Jean Dubuffet. When I first came across them, both really challenged me (and in their time, the world) when thinking about image making and representations of the figure and space in picture making and sculptures. Although they are both known for their paintings, occasionally it's their three dimensional forms that draw me in most.


I saw this wall of Tracey Emin neon works at her exhibition 'Love is what you want' in 2011 at London's Hayward Gallery and I had of those rare overwhelming, gobsmacking moments. I may have even shed a tear.


While I won't commit to a favourite artist overall, it's very likely that Sidney Nolan is my favourite Australian artist. If someone was to ask me that 'If you could own any Australian work' type of question, it'd likely be a Nolan portrait. This grouping of works, made between 1944 and 1947, are held in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia and I think I went back to eyeball these works four times when i visited the gallery in 2014.


This is Kevin. Some may call him a masterpiece. Kevin is one of the many helpful gallery staff who have been working alongside me during my project at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. As part of the process, I asked Kevin and others to contribute an element to the wall painting as a way of recording their own experience of the gallery environment, somewhere they spend lots of time looking and absorbing what surrounds them.


I love catching public transport as much as I hate it, but ultimately it influences what I do. Public transport provides an interesting and diverse take on the people we exist alongside. The characters, their personas and mannerisms sometimes find their way into what I'm working on.


I watch a lot of comedy and I believe humour is one of the greatest available resources in communicating between artist and audience. Ricky Gervais' 'Extras' is one of my favourites and his character Andy Millman is so perfectly pathetic.