interview by Michael Winters, drawings by Tom Branch
Tom Branch is a current Sojourn Arts & Culture Resident Artist along with Joanna Miller, Ryan Segedi, and Sarah Truman. They are each spending the summer working toward a Residency Review exhibit at the Sojourn Gallery, set to open on August 23, 7-9 p.m.
So, can you describe what you’ve been working on this summer?
I have been using drawings inside the limits of my hands. In a way, it’s a graphic journal but the limits are what is inside of my hand.
I know you’ve mostly made photographs in the past. What inspired the transition to focus on drawing?
It is something that I wanted to revisit. I have done them in the past, and I was at a time where I needed to expand. So instead of taking on a new thing, I took on something old and made it new again.
How long have you been a part of our church? How do you think that experience has formed you both as a person and as an artist?
I have been a part of Sojourn since late 2003/early 2004. This experience so far has been a reflection of myself whereas many times while I am drawing I run into a speed bump where the drawing brings out something in me that needs to be processed. It is a journey inward and outward, and that is challenging.
Could you share a specific drawing that illustrates what you mean? Can you think of a specific time when drawing brought something out that needed to be processed? How did you then address the thing?
I know that many years ago during the space shuttle exploding on its journey back to earth I was wanting to do things that were relevant or current happenings. So this made it into the drawings. Right now its a mixture of feelings and issues anything from current events, to scripture meditations, depression or just whatever comes to mind. Often times, just as is life, there are so many thoughts going on the best thing is to let them come and channel them into art.
Most of the times its all about the process or journey. What makes it into my drawings are notes to myself. It is a graphical journal and may not always make sense. Some things, mainly words or scripture, I will put into the art as a reminder for me and anyone who would view it. You never know when a day will come by and I will see my own drawing and be inspired all over again.
One of the recent works was created in two pieces. I needed to just pour out whatever feelings I had stirring around during one of the bouts with depression. They were negative emotional words but they were on my mind nonetheless. Then the second part was to counter the first one and show the healing from the hurt where it started. It is just another page in the story called life.