• Caitlin Kennedy

Tom Cleary


Tell us about your cover.

My cover goes back to my artistic style when I was younger. I just constantly used to doodle and from that, I developed a bit more skill I guess. That’s what it is at the end of the day, bored doodling made to look good! I saw an amazing photo by Sam Box that I thought if I drew the outline of the skier and filled it in with pattern and colour, that could look really cool. Shout out to Hamish, the skier model!


Did you ever get in trouble at school for doodling?

Yeah I actually did in a way. I used to doodle on my hands all the time and eventually I got ink poisoning. My hand was dead to the world and I put my other hand up to get the teacher because it was turning blue as my great nan. I went to the hospital and got put on a drip to prevent blood poisoning. It’s actually a really convincing prosthetic now, the good old NHS ay? Yeah I wasn’t really allowed to do that again, that was my hand career over.


Bloody hell! Now that you can’t use hands, what do you use?

At uni I used to do it on the desk quite a lot. Don’t tell Leeds Uni! But obviously paper, can’t knock it.


You came out here without a job, how did you go about that?

I was going to come out with a group of friends who are all doing a season, but I got a good job working as a paralegal for a human right’s law firm at home. I was sat in the office one day not having a good time when I saw my mates posts on social media, so I quit and booked my flights. I didn’t have much luck on the seasonaire page but I asked around and once I was in resort it was a lot easier to get a job.


And do we hear you used to do radio?

Yeah, me and my mates did an agony aunt style show on the Uni radio. We would go to the pub, have a couple of pints and plan it then essentially just chat shit on air. I thought it was going to go further at one point as I had an interview with a radio exec. I turned up dressed all fancy, but he arrived in full track suit and tried to get me to have an affair with him before his wedding the week after!


Was radio the main thing you did outside of uni work?

I did a lot of charity work too. I was involved with campaigning for Amnesty International, largely around the refugee crisis and that took up most of my time. I ended up doing a year in industry where I worked for a human rights law firm in London.


Wow, that’s amazing. Were you into human rights work when you started Uni?

No it was definitely at Leeds that the opportunity presented itself and I became more interested. It sort of started off with hipster Ghandi to be honest. I think art is such a good way to express political and social problems, it breaks all language barriers, everyone can read art and it is the most effective way of getting a simple point across. For instance, at uni I did this display, which I guess you could say was art. I made a rectangle on the ground out of tape which represented the size of the truck that 80 children died in trying to cross the border in the refugee crisis. Often it takes a visual representation to get people to change their mind and take notice.


Do you tend to know what you are going to draw before you start?

A lot of my drawings start off with a plan then don’t turn out the way I thought they would. That is a perfect way to describe my art; it is very all over the place. You can see that I have thought one thing, then another, then another.


Is there one thing you find yourself drawing again and again?

Eyes, I really like drawing eyes. Not a fan of hands though; they’re horrible to draw with all the shadows on the fingers.


Tell us about hipster Ghandi (check out Tom’s insta).

I spent three years drawing hipster Ghandi, it was a painful process. It took me three hours to do his ear for instance, but I was so happy I did it. I would always do it after school and then just keep on doing little bits. I drew it, fine penned over it and made sure it was perfect. After scanning it, I experimented in photoshop for ages with different colours. I learnt photoshop in the process.


What does hipster Ghandi mean to you?

He reminds me a lot of when I was younger and when I was really into art. Also, he’s just a truly inspirational figure, a modern day prophet.