The three stages of life, according to enigmatic artist Tommy Devoid, are as follows: birth; “what the fuck is this?”; and finally, death. Those in the middle stage—presumably everyone reading this sentence—can probably relate.
A self-taught digital artist specializing in sardonic prints, Devoid offers a welcome antidote to the poison positivity of “live, laugh, love” sloganeering. “I enjoy making people laugh and creating jokes that can be dark, gritty, and even ghastly at times,” he says. Dunked in a vat of acid, Devoid’s tart-tongued works melt like sugar before burning a hole on the roof of your mouth.
Part of Devoid’s appeal lies in his consciously cultivated anonymity—you won’t find any headshots online, but the artist’s prankster persona shines through in works like “But Seriously Though” and “Keep Your Head Up”: “If I could be a bird,” Devoid’s signature skeleton muses, “I know exactly who I’d shit on.”
“My artwork at its core is really just an extension of who I am as a person,” he writes in his artist statement. And with over 110k followers on Instagram, it’s clear Devoid has struck a chord with people who see themselves in his world-weary roguery. “I love that [my quotes] have the potential to make someone, somewhere in the world, chuckle, even on their darker days,” he says of his followers. “To some degree, we have made a genuine connection through something I’ve created.”
With his trademark gallows humor, Devoid approaches the middle stage of life with devilish glee. Both light and dark, foolish and wise, benign and malicious, his work copes with hardship by leaning into the darkness—not away from it.
“If I could be a bird, I know exactly who I’d shit on.” — Tommy Devoid
All photos published with permission of the artist.
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