There's something refreshing about stumbling across someone like Mister THOMS. He embodies everything we love most about street art - humour, talent and just a whiff of being crazy. We talked to Diego della Posta about keeping his digits in a range of artistic pies whilst decorating Rome's delapidated buildings with his endearing characters.
Main image: Defrag my Heart, 2011, Rome
I Love Green Skull, Rome 2011
Have you always been an artist or did you ever have a 'real' adult job?
Hey, why isn’t being an artist a ‘real’ job?!
I gave it inverted commas! Where's your favourite place to do your art? Do you have a particular city you enjoy working in?
I express myself in my work; I don’t really prefer any particular city. I believe that all the cities of the world are inspiring. I’m definitely more motivated to paint in places that are degraded or abandoned though. It fascinates me a lot to rehabilitate an eerie place, factories especially, by adding a touch of color. Through my street art I have always been able to express myself freely without any constraints or limitations of any kind... unless someone calls the police!
Clown (sculpture), 2005
The range of mediums in which you work is pretty diverse, not many street artists branch out into sculpture for instance. Do you have a favourite mode of expression?
I think for every situation there is a more appropriate means of expression. There is always a better instrument that, placed in the right context, that is able to better express the message that I want to communicate.
Le Clochard, Rome 2010
What artists inspire your work?
The Surrealists, African art and many lllustrators and contemporary directors.
A heart in a speech bubble seems to be a bit of a trademark, why?
It embodies the message that I want to send out to people – it’s all about love!
Love the Differents (Painting)
Clowns also crop up a lot, what do you like so much about them?
Clowns are definitely a big influence, they’re so grotesque and sad. I think the clown figure encompasses the entire life of man, always hovering between reality and fiction. It’s something that was created to make people smile, but in reality its most noble and profound role has always been to help to make people think... and basically that's what I try to do well through my drawings.
What's next for your work?
I thought being an artist had nothing to do with real ‘work’?!
For more from Mister THOMS, check out the website here.