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Tom Herck is a Belgian conceptual multidisciplinary artist. He is best known for his unconventional public art installations. Tom grew up in a creative environment, his father is an artist. He was raised by his single mother in a neighborhood with a high blue-color crime rate and not a lot of opportunities. In his mid and late 20’s he had a leading role in the underground football culture, arranging illegal group fights in streets and forests. Attracted to ‘outsider’ cultures Tom was active in the illegal graffiti scene as well, which formed his artistic foundation. He never met his grandparents on his mother’s side.
His grandfather’s identity is unknown and his grandmother was a “madam”(female pimp) owning some brothels in Tom’s hometown. She committed suicide when Tom’s mother Nicole was expecting him. Nicole grew up as a street kid. She was raised by nuns and worked from her 13 years old in a hospital till her death at age 62 (2017). When Nicole was diagnosed with the progressive nervous system disease ALS at the age of 62, one month before her retirement, Tom created Last Words (2019), a mural to honor her, resonating her last words. Nicole will always be remembered in the hospital where she worked all her life.
In search of his identity Tom started to travel all over the world. In the beginning he combined his travels with graffiti actions around Europe, painting metro’s and trains all over the continent. Highly motivated though almost broke, Tom was forced to sleep in trains and sometimes on the street. One of his highlights in this period was going to New York to paint the subway system and meet graffiti legend Seen . Due to some legal issues, he stopped his illegal activities and started to focus on murals, later the desire grew to evolve to a more sophisticated art form.