Tom Thewes

Tom Thewes

der Lärm roared into existence during the spring of 1990, a renegade band of Detroit-based graphic designers and painters, artists burning with passionate angst, and fed up with the lackluster, antiquated and obesely cheese-filled remnants of the “golden age” of advertising which maintained a sweaty vice-grip on the creative output of the “commercial” or “applied” arts, as well as the lethargic, top-heavy monolith of “fine art” criticism which floated high above mortal perception in the heavenly ether of hyper-intellectualized elitism. der Lärm fervently modeled itself after the modernist movements of the early Twentieth Century, a time when the greatest creative minds of an era banded together and splintered apart again and again in an attempt to break ties with the perceived nostalgic aesthetics of the past and constantly re-define the very nature of art. Groups like Die Brüke, Der Blaue Reiter, the Futurists and the Vorticists were the first punk rockers, owning and manipulating the long-sacred tenets of truth and beauty for themselves, damn the past. Taking cues from his absurd admiration of those first romantic masters of artistic dissention, one of these brave pioneers, Thewes developed a style some have dubbed, Retro-Futurism. After years of fighting to remain true to his creative values, Thewes stands as the last of these brave idiots, the last der Lärm boy. Lurking about the bleak urban landscape of the dead city known to many as Detroit, he is often seen rummaging through piles of debris with Jaspar, his faithful sidekick/dependant offspring, and/or one or more of Jaspar’s obedient sibling minions, Mika, Josh or GoGo, in search of sustenance and scavenging material for his darkly epic creations.
Thewes has illustrated for such clients as Playboy, Vibe, Guitar World and Automobile Magazine, Madison Square Gardens’ New York Rangers, the WNBA’s New York Liberty, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, the SBC Cotton Bowl, Radio City Music Hall, Pepsi, Gatorade, Ford Motor Company, Compuware Corporation, K2/Ride Snowboards, Spyder Ski Wear and the Cartoon Network. He has been written about in every major Metro-Detroit based publication as well as Juxtapoz, How, Hi Fructose and Blue Canvas magazines and has exhibited in galleries both nationally and internationally.
In 1999 Thewes founded a Detroit icon, ©POP Gallery, one of the great art showcases in the midwest and the first in the country dedicated to the now institutionally established aesthetic movement based in American popular culture which included work now understood as pop-surrealism, lowbrow, street art and graffiti. Also that year, he co-founded another Detroit showcase, the DEMF or Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which became the largest global festival celebrating electronic music.
In 2010 Thewes, along with internationally renowned brothers Matt and Tristan Eaton, formed CONTRAprojects which represented legendary street artists Ron English, Dalek, D*FACE, Shepard Fairey, HOW & NOSM, Tes One, BASK, TrustoCorp, as well as the Eaton brothers and Thewes himself. CONTRA showcased the work of these artists through global art fairs and events of the highest calibur as well as related site specific mural and installation projects. Locally, CONTRA created the Detroit Beautification Project, in which recognized street artists from across the globe helped transform our once great municipality by creating public art throughout the city.