Biography

{ths} aka Thomas Schostok combines experimental creativity and intuition in his work which exudes a raw, bombastic, provocative style. He uses adult images as a tool to express an idea that is common to all his work: dirty is beauty.

{ths} works at the crossroads of art and graphic design. His studio is based in Essen, West Germany.  In 2002 Schos­tok co-founded, together with Ste­fan Claudius, The Cape Arcona Type Foundry, a type foundry that pro­duces and dis­trib­utes dig­i­tal typefaces.

The artist lives and works in Essen. Somewhat incongruous with his current career, he started out selling bathroom tiles before setting up his own studio in 1999, from where he works on projects both home and abroad. He has never studied art or design and his method is not based on any preconceived idea. His graphic design, collage, typography, illustration and painting challenge conformity, boredom, clichés which abound in the world of design and he mocks nearly every stereotype there is.

His desire for freedom of expression and independence is self-evident. For his project entitled ›BEAST Magazine‹, 2001, Thomas Schostok distributed his work for free in PDF format, not a banner or sponsor in sight, just artists and designers who were invited to participate, providing a perfect example of how technology can provide alternative means of publication.

Alternative is a word that can be used to describe his choice of typography – words are yet more images in his work and his manual brushstrokes provoke an unexpected reaction. Schostok’s  ›Gluebooks‹ are experimental handicraft: a blank book, plenty of glue and improvisation are all that’s needed to create these deliberately dirty, chaotic, weird and ultimately great pieces. The pages are filled with cuttings from porn mags, photocopies, pieces of paper, saucy sketches and a jumble of uncensored, irreverent, suggestive phrases. It’s only when he gets to the end of the book that he chooses a title and designs the cover.

Thomas Schostok uses sexually explicit images, the type of bad-quality, blurred porn photos that are often the favorites, and he dirties them, paints over them, scratches and creases them, defacing them until dirtiness presides over beauty.  It is not surprising that his work has been described as ›a strange, artistic ejaculation‹. {ths} defines is work as ›trash urban warfare porn dirt style pop‹.

Nowadays, Elvis Presley and Barry White are some of is Thomas Schostok’s source of inspiration but used bus tickets and old sweet wrappers, in fact just about anything, can be made use of by this bin trawler. {ths} released two monographs/books: ›Hard Blow‹ (Rojo Editions, 2008), a book about the pornographic artwork in his art, especially in his ›Gluebooks‹; ›Mr. Trash‹ (self published, sold out), volume one of his art and design works during the last 10 years of his career.