Tommy’s “trip of a lifetime” to Vietnam
The Graceystown Road artist, who is as renowned for his artwork as he is for his jovial and friendly personality, is indeed much in demand.
Having accepted an invitation to participate in an international project at Hanoi Art Connecting, it wasn’t long before he was also asked to speak at an inspiring event held at Hanoi Architectural University.
For all his impressive track record as a seasoned traveller who has explored every corner of the world to showcase his talent, Tommy admitted that nothing could have prepared him for the sheer intensity of what he experienced in Hanoi – describing it as a “career highlight” and “the trip of a lifetime”.
He commented: “A big part of the appeal of Hanoi Connecting was the chance to spend time with artist friends from that part of the world, and indeed beyond. Such opportunities are limited and are not to be missed.
"With many artists participating and many other artists, curators,
teachers and dignitaries visiting, the festival is a huge undertaking.”
The festival primarily involves artists from South East Asia, and it speaks volumes about Tommy’s worldwide profile that he was also invited.
The Banbridge resident admitted that he was still star-struck after meeting some massive names from the world of art, at a dinner for ‘master artists’.
"Some of these artists are household names over there,” he enthused. "Sharing the studio with artists of this stature and profile was daunting, and I admit that while I was excited, I was also feeling the pressure!”
Having been asked to share his thoughts on international integration, Tommy shared his belief that art can be a unifying factor: “I was able to draw upon the role art has played in reconciliation here in Northern Ireland.
"I believe that art can provide a safe and non-contentious environment to encourage dialogue. It resonated with the views of the other speakers.”