Haywards Heath charity guides artist to prestigious college

Ardingly Artist Tommy Golunski and some of his work. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150501-132009001
Ardingly Artist Tommy Golunski and some of his work. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150501-132009001

A talented artist who hails his family as his inspiration has won a place at a prestigious art academy – with a little help from a Haywards Heath charity.

Tommy Golunski, 21, fromArdingly, has been accepted to The Art Academy in London after Tim French spotted his work on the town’s art trail.

Ardingly Artist Tommy Golunski's work. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150501-131949001

Ardingly Artist Tommy Golunski's work. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150501-131949001

Tim, who received an MBE in 2010 for his services to the community, aims to nurture talent with the backing of charity It’s Magic.

“Tim essentially said to me what do you want to be doing?” said Tommy.

“I said I would like to be an artist and make a living as an artist.”

Six months later Tommy contacted Tim and told him he would like to go to The Art Academy in London.

“But it wasn’t subsidised by the government,” said Tommy.

“But he said there is this charity that I work with so if you get accepted let me know, and we went from there.

“Between my acceptance and him saying that, he worked with me trying to give me pointers. I wanted to completely redo my portfolio.

“It is very selective so to even get in I was super excited about it.”

But without Tim French and the backing of It’s Magic, Tommy said he would probably not have even applied.

“I think I would have still started working as an artist but I don’t think I would have considered The Art Academy.

“Tim is very wise and I can always phone him and say what do you think – I need some help. I keep getting excited about starting.”

Tommy had considered doing a foundation year at Brighton but opted to defer to help his mother while she was waiting for a back operation and his father worked away from home for a few days a week.

“I stayed at home looking after mum and it gave me a period of two years to really develop my work.

“I had the interview with the head of the sculpture department and the principal of the course.

“She said we don’t normally offer students this but she said there was no way they wouldn’t offer me a place.”

The course leaders praised Tommy’s work as one of the ‘strongest bodies’ of work they had seen at that level.

“I was super chuffed with that. I told Tim and he said we had to go about getting funding.”

Tommy has started drawing people and getting commissions to help fund the course, and even makes his own panels and frames with the help of his father – who is a bit of a handyman.

The young artist said painting for him is never a chore –he only took a few days off over Christmas –and is no stranger to working long days.

“I started painting when I was about three. I mostly paint portraits in oil. At the academy we will be having 24 hour weeks, with art history, drawing lessons and sculpture.”

Tommy said a lot of his inspiration for art has come from his grandfather, Bill Golunski, a well-known artist around Mid Sussex.

“My grandfather was obviously an inspiration. He is an artist and he is very encouraging.”

Tommy also cited contemporary painters Casey Baugh, Jeremy Lipkin and David Kasan as his inspiration – artists he said who are at the ‘top of their game’ along with renowned American portrait artist John Singer Sergeant.

To look at Tommy’s work visit www.behance.net/Thomas-Golunski.

To find out more about It’s Magic, visit www.itsmagic.org.uk