Interview Tom Smith - Let It Ebb And Flow
Tom Smith is a face that follows me around. I see him crossing the road in ferntree gully, I see him on the bus from Monbulk, I see him at Ends of The Verse - and until recently I had really had a chance to get to know this familiar face. I am glad that I am now beginning to do so.
Tom has a smooth rhythm and patient delivery with his Poetry that are more reminiscent of hip hop than Blake. Witty, humorous and touching on resonant chords with finesse and calm, he is one of my favourite local performers.
I recently pestered him with questions and he graciously agreed to answer them, I have had these for a couple weeks and am sorry it took me so long to get this out, Tom.
What is your main medium for creative expression?
Drawing used to be my main medium from a young age, mostly creating characters. I used to be very introverted and this process gave me something to escape into... As I grew older and started to open up and grow more confident I started writing poetry which has since become my main creative outlet. I consider my medium to be writing and spoken word equally.
When did you begin?
I started really writing after breaking up with my first serious girlfriend. I was sparked by a Blackalicious track called Release which features a spoken word piece during the last half by Saul Williams. That verse changed everything for me.
That was around 8 years ago
Do you see the internet as a beneficial tool for artists?
Oh fuck yeah. I mean we're talking about the single greatest collection of history and information since the Great Library of Alexandria... I am constantly checking spelling, descriptions of words, wikipedia articles and finding inspiration from all over the world.
What advice would you give yourself when it comes to creativity?
I like the process of giving constructive criticism and advice to others but struggle with the idea of advising myself... Probably just to let it ebb and flow and be ok with that. Sometimes things can be pushed other times one needs to be gentle.
What is the purpose of art as you see it?
This one baffled me for a long time for lots of reasons but I think nowadays I see it primarily as an outlet for anyone to express something. If others enjoy it or relate to it or you can find degrees of success through the process then that's just a bonus. The real reward is giving your perspective, opinions and feelings some kind of tangible quality via expression.
What does community mean to you?
Community is becoming more and more important to me as I get older and really feel like giving back to something. The concept of a community (whether artistic or other) is really based people just assisting and supporting each other. It's an extension of love and family that sometimes gets lost in our modern world, somewhere between capitalism and population.
As always Tom you are insightful and kind with your outlook, thanks so much for doing this interview and look forward to some more one on one Poetry workshopping!
- Ryan Dickinson