Shapes and Spontaneity

Thomas Hammer (born 1985) considers his paintings “paradoxes” – intimate in scale, cosmic in scope. Made of sharp-edged geometric shapes, they explore the subconscious and are inspired by the prevailing stylistic trends across popular culture – advertising, music, fashion and social media. Thomas’s ink works, on the other hand, are freer and more fluid. Created with a unique tool that’s a fusion of a squeegee and a brush, they capture the “spontaneity and vim of post-war action painting.”

Wikipedia gives a good definition of “action painting”:

Action painting, sometimes called “gestural abstraction”, is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting work often emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as an essential aspect of the finished work or concern of its artist.

How is action painting connected to the post-war context? Here’s an explanation:

It is essential for the understanding of action painting to place it in historical context. A product of the post-World War II artistic resurgence of expressionism in America and more specifically New York City, action painting developed in an era where quantum mechanics and psychoanalysis were beginning to flourish and were changing people’s perception of the physical and psychological world; and civilization’s understanding of the world through heightened self-consciousness and awareness.


Thomas Hammer


Thomas holds a BS from Cornell. He was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in Ithaca, New York, having been adopted as an infant by a Norwegian mother and an American father of Jewish lineage, both academics. Right now, he is based in Harlem.

He has some wonderful words to share on creative careers. What is the most challenging part? Thomas says: “Probably the very beginning, when you’re unsure of your voice and the work you create disappoints because it doesn’t stack up to your ambitions or the work of the artists you admire. If you can work through that, everything gets easier.” Then, what is the most rewarding part of art-making? – “I love what I do. It’s pretty astonishing that it’s anything close to a career. I feel compelled to create and expand upon the work I’ve already done. It gives me a sense of purpose. Lately I’ve compared that to what more religious people probably feel.”


The Unique Tool


Thomas’s works have been published in Architectural Digest, CoEval Magazine and Lines Magazine. In 2015, he exhibited at the inaugural edition of X Contemporary during Miami Art Week at Art Basel Miami Beach and in 2016, participated in a group show at the Zhou B Arts Center in Chicago and at the Palm Springs Art Fair. Recently, he had a show at Art Southampton with Saatchi Art.

Learn more on Thomas has profiles on Uprise Art ( and Saatchi Art ( You can connect with him on Instagram ( and Facebook (

Images used with permission.


3 Puppis


Cyanea Pycnocarpa


Thiota Gruis
Iota Gruis


Narthecium Montanum
Narthecium montanum


Pi Lupi
Pi Lupi


Ochrosia Fatuhivensis


Zeta Volantis


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