Text by Danny Calvi
25-year-old artist Tommy Kha tackles serious subjects (racism, identity, body issues, etc) with a very light touch. Humor plays an important role in Tommy’s photography, but even more so in his videos, such as this poolside excerpt from ‘Same Difference’.
Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, home of Elvis and site of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Tommy was struck by the total absence of gay role models. There he studied journalism, which, in fact, he hated. But when he picked up a camera, he was excited to find it granted him access to other worlds. He experimented, became a hippy, and was eventually admitted to Yale’s two-year MFA program in photography.
Now living in New York City, Tommy’s body of work is growing to include more videos — what he likes to call ‘extended pictures’. They have a performance element to them, where Tommy’s playing an uncanny comic subject.
Check out Tommy’s website. Buttheads in Detroit, Michigan might want to check out the unfortunately titled, but worthwhile exhibition, ‘Do The Yale Thing: An Exhibition of Exceptional Artwork by Recent Yale MFA Graduates’, which features more of Tommy Kha’s fascinating work. It runs from this Friday, 24 January until 21 March, 2014 at the N’Namdi Center For Contemporary Art.