Gary Thomas at the BFI

Artist Statement

In my work I explore Nature, Mental Health, Sexuality and images of Disability. I am interested in characters that over come many different obstacles, whether they be physical or emotional, and am also interested in creating the very definition of the ‘Moving Image’. Influences include Eija Liisa Ahtila, Bill Viola, Rebecca Horn, Tracey Emin and Phil Collins. As well as artist film and video I am just as interested in ‘commercial’ influences, and favourite films include The Philadelphia Story (1940) My Best Friends Wedding, Back to the Future, and most films by Steven Spielberg.

The majority of my work stems from my writing. Whether its writing characters, short stories, ideas, or dreams that I’ve had.

For screenplays it normally comes from an idea or a character that I think is interesting. If I get an idea first I normally spend quite a bit of time working out who the main character is for that story.

With my documentaries I always try and capture the moments that catch people off guard. I like to be very much in the background to the point where people forget I am there and can begin to talk openly to one another about themselves or carry on doing what ever it is I’m filming them do. I try very hard to put people at ease, but the majority of my work is filming speakers and performers, so its not too difficult.
I work with people of all disabilities as well as young people, and enjoy inspiring people to create their own projects.

I am always with a camera and taking photographs. One of my ambitions is to do magazine assignments, especially for the National Geographic. I have over 3000 slides in my collection, and I am interested in monetizing this.

I also have recently begun to experiment with painting and drawing, and realise now that saying ‘I can’t draw’ is no longer a barrier to either of those practices. I am inspired by artists that I see in exhibitions and visit the Tate regularly for inspiration. Memorable exhibitions have included the Gauguin Exhibition, and Rebecca Horn (at the Hayward).

For my future practice I would like to concentrate on mental health and images of sexuality.