Today in our Artists’ Corner we bring you some more images from Photographer Franco Chen, who has taken hundreds of photos of artists and bands who’ve performed at the ICC over the years. Here are a few of Franco’s photos of the avant-garde, Irish contemporary artist Tomas Quigley.
A painter, sculptor and illustrator, Tomas came to London in the swinging 60s and ran a coffee shop in the heart of Soho, where the artists of the day would all gather and exhibit their paintings. After many years Tomas moved to Hammersmith where he spent the last four decades of his life. His art was inspirational, wild and imaginative and his use of colour was often psychedelic. Tomas earned the respect of so many greats of the art world and was especially admired by Sir Peter Blake, who regarded Tomas as having a unique artistic vibrancy. Sir Peter opened what was probably Tomas’s last exhibition at The Atrium Gallery, Hammersmith in 2006.
As you will see in Franco’s photographs, Tomas dressed with the elegance, style and colours of a true artist and was often seen walking up King Street Hammersmith wearing long cloaks, big hats with feathers and cowboy boots. Sadly one day about 10 years ago Tomas just simply disappeared. There were rumours he had been ill. Friends went to his flat to look for him, but it had been emptied of all his possessions and all his art and canvases were gone. They checked local care homes, hospitals, but no trace of him could be found. Franco Chen’s beautiful photographs of Tomas are therefore all the more poignant. In these images Chen truly captures the gentleman that Tomas was, his warmth, his breadth of colour, his wonderful bohemian style and the Irish twinkle in his eye. If anyone does know what happened to Tomas please let the ICC know.