Audio-visual Artist, Thom Buttery, shares his inspirations

Thom is working on our Quartet and Atticus funded Julia Trust Night shelter r&d. We asked him a bit about himself and his work.


Who are you and what form does your artistic practice take?

I’m Thomas Buttery a Bristol based visual and light artist with an inclination for documentary film making.


Why and how did you start this sort of work?

I got really into VJing while in College because it gave me an unrestrained platform to project, manipulate and exhibit my video experiments. At around the same time I was being amazed at festivals like Big Chill and fell in love with the festival environment as a playground for visual and light experiments.


What contexts do you tend to work in and with whom?

I work as part of a visual arts team called Limbic Cinema and our projects are quite diverse, from promenade theatre and light installations at festivals to stage designs and music videos.


What’s your most significant moment of learning as an artist?

Working collaboratively has proven to be the most fruitful step in my creative process over the last five or so years, it allows an idea to evolve in new directions and having more combined experience generally results in better crafted piece of work. I’m yet to work with a poet so this will be a great learning curve.


How do you feel your artistic practice fits within the bigger picture?

The thing that appeals to me about expanded-cinema is its ability to create an experience which leaves the audience or participants feeling a different kind of emotion or response compared to that of an ordinary cinema screening. The location, materials and use of 3D space are all areas that can re-enforce narratives and further the impact of storytelling. It’s a process which is still in its early days but some amazing results are beginning to filter out.


What is it about this project that particularly appeals to you?

Homelessness is a situation that any person could find themselves in over the course of their lives. It’s both a local and global issue, from the people that sleep out on the streets in your town centre, to the refugees who are fleeing war torn areas. There is a worrying lack of empathy towards people in need of support that needs to be challenged and hopefully through this project we can open some minds and refresh some perspectives.


Can you give us a quotation, individual or piece of artists work that you find inspiring and why?

Sikka Magnum by Daniel Canogar

I really like the process of digital recycling, re-appropriating your own or others material to give it a new meaning or context, this approach is what the VJ practice was built on. This installation is both a beautiful light installation and 360 film screenings all at once.