An Inside Conversation with Thomas Macie, Artist and Connoisseur of Simplicity

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There's a principle in Japanese aesthetic tradition known as wabi-sabi. Centered around the appreciation of the imperfect, it's traits are characterized by the embracement of asymmetry, bare simplicity and the intuitive power found in empty spaces. Rather than focus on perfect, finely-tuned detail by detail, wabi-sabi works to portray the world as nature does -- indiscriminate, thoughtless yet purposeful, and true.

I'm not sure how closely Thomas Macie follows zen principles (should've asked), but I don't have to know that to know he innately understands it. As a student of fine art-turned-connoisseur of minimalism, Macie's work in collages, print and sketches are some of the greatest examples of the real beauty in deconstruction. With his stripped down style, Macie successfully tears away at the layers that most would centralize on, only to find truth in the bare bones of his work. In this way, Macie frees the art of it's context. You don't have to understand why it looks good, you just know.

With great honor, we were lucky enough to get some words with the man, going over his process, his work outside of art and a couple quick pick one questions. Read through to get a better look into Thomas' work.

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First and foremost, introduce yourself and what you do.

I’m Thomas Macie. I’m an artist. I enjoy making things in a variety of different mediums and I also enjoy riding BMX bikes. 

What was your earliest experience with creative work?

Legos! I would build the kit as per the instructions and take it apart the same day, only to build something new completely conceived in my head.

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One aspect of your art that always fascinates me — especially knowing your fine arts background — is how perfectly minimalist and succinct your collage work is. How, if at all, does your skill with fine arts dictate the taste of your collages?

I would say it doesn’t. I thought I was going to study graphic design after high school and subsequently took all the courses offered in this field at junior college. My work in collage and the choices I make within a composition relate closer to what I learned while studying composition and visual communication in a graphic design setting. The purpose of (good) graphic design is to present information in a visually interesting and engaging way for the intended audience. This is what I hope to accomplish through my work in collage.

Along with your collages, you've also shared very stripped and bare drawings before. What do you think it is about deconstruction that influences you?

I couldn’t really tell you to be honest. I don’t quite know myself haha. But to delve into the concept of deconstruction: I think it is through the act of taking something down to its basic forms, the discovery of what makes “it” was “it” is, that we come to a greater understanding of the original object.

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How did Antimedia Magazine come about?

Erica Buenconsejo approached me about helping her realize an idea she had about creating a print magazine to showcase creative people in our scene and elsewhere. I jumped aboard to help steer the art direction and handle the design/layout of each issue. We have our second issue dropping August 4th and I couldn’t be any more stoked to share all that we’ve been working on for all you sick fools out there doing sick things.

With your collages, paintings, magazine creation and even BMX, it’s obvious you take on a lot of work and activity and handle it well. What do you think helps boost your productivity?

Well I’m happy it appears I handle it well hahaha, it’s a constant struggle. I think the one thing that truly boosts my productivity is the reminder I hear way too often from my elders, “it’s only going to get worse.” 

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Where would you ideally like to take your work in the future?

I’m a bit handicapped when it comes to thinking about long term goals, but I’d like to start a publishing platform/studio someday. The work and studio practice of the couples who run Palefroi, Atelier Bingo, and Sonnenzimmer are huge inspirations for this future endeavor, and I could see myself doing exactly what they are doing down the road.

Pick one: 

Bike or paint.  

Paint my bike then go biking :-)

Outdoors living or inside working.

Working in a studio. In a tree. In the forest.

Mystery or transparency.

Transparency films are not necessary to make silkscreens.

Thomas Macie - Art work