A closer look into Thomas Stempel's intricate art process

An exploration of Thomas Stempel's unique process

Earlier this month, we showcased Thomas Stempel's debut London Exhibition 'Memories'. The exhibition showcased a selection of his highly detailed drawings, which explored Stempel's unique process and interest in forms and shapes that can be found in nature.


Pictured: 'Memories' by Thomas Stempel, Showcased at Rhodes Contemporary Art 13.01.22 - 05.02.22.


Audiences were astonished to see that these works were not digitally produced but produced entirely by hand. The meticulous detail of the works creates a kaleidoscopic aesthetic and provides the viewer with a sense that the image is in movement. There is something very abstract about the works, however each viewer can connect something to them whether that be a memory, a feeling of texture or a familiarity of an object. 



About the artist:


Thomas Stempel is a German contemporary artist. His drawings are inspired by the landscapes of Southern Germany where he spent his most formative years. Stempel takes inspiration from the natural world that could be found around him, such as the rock formations, shadows of the trees, the stones rounded by the river on the riverbanks are deeply rooted in the artist's memories and inspirations.


Pictured: Thomas Stempel creating a work in his studio. 


Stempel also takes inspiration from man-made objects in the city where he now lives; the structure and transparency of fabrics such as silk or everyday textures such as reflections from water or scaffolding tarpaulins can be seen to flow into his work.


The work’s themes and titles are deeply personal, coming from the thoughts, feelings, and situations in which his works are created. Every drawing has its story, its meaning, but the great thing about their abstract imagery is that everyone feels and thinks something different when looking at them.



The artist uses a unique process with a compass gifted from his grandad, an architect in a time when drawings for building were crafted by hand. Thomas Stempel decided to use this tool is a completely free, creative, and experimental way. The creative process involves repetition of movement, creating a dynamic spectacle of line-work.



An artwork that I would like to analyse is ‘Bodies 03’. The curvature of the lines nod to the human form. There is a transparency to the object, which makes it seem three-dimensional as it lays on the picture-plane. In person, it is hard to believe that these works are generated by the human hand due to their precision and clarity. When looking closer, the viewer can see the compass indents made by the needle, evidence of the artist's process. The intersections of the lines create texture with the darker element of the drawing acting as a vignette.


It is interesting to note that when looking at the piece that the block of grey colour is not just a shading with a pencil but comprised of many individual lines, repeated over and over again. The pieces aren't planned, and they are developed with an element of chance and the artists intuition. The title of the work 'Bodies' refers to the curvature of the line work, hinting at the natural curves and indents of human bodies. Personally, I perceive the images to be feminine and the texture reminds me of nylon tights against skin. The abstract quality of the works allows the viewer to bring their own outlook and connotations to the image. 



Bodies 03, 2021
Hand Drawn Ink on White Kapa Line Cardboard
Framed in Black
100 x 70 cm
39 3/8 x 27 1/2 in


What is so appealing about Stempel's works is the unique process in which they are crafted. To be able to work out exactly how the linework is made is a part of the joy of observing them. The process challenges the norms of traditional art making, through using a tool that is not specifically designed for creating drawings of this intracity and scale. We can feel Stempel's inspirations taken from the environments that he has encountered over his life and even apply our own memories of nature to them. 


If you are interested in receiving details about the Thomas Stempel works that we have available, please contact us at info@rhodescontemporaryart.com or you can call us on +44 (0)20 7240 7909. We look forward to hearing from you! 

February 19, 2022
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