Image: Thom Seddon, visual artist's look entitled 'Madame Cash'

“Nottingham’s drag scene is small but it is also mighty.” Visual Artist Thom Seddon, 34, has been within this scene for eight years and he sees drag as a pivotal arm to his creative body. Adam Baker speaks to him to find out what his creative world consists of.

Thom’s drag persona, ‘Nana Arthole’, has been a growing part of the scene since he started DJing for LGBTQ events company ‘DirtyFilthySexy’. Although, he admits this was just “queueing music in a wig”, it has become a passion and a career since that point.

Image: Thom Seddon as ‘Chess Demon

As a queer person, drag has been a large part of Thom’s life since being involved with musical theatre from age nine. The realisation drag could be used as an artistic outlet was important as, “drag is all encompassing” in terms of visual and performance art but also contains a written aspect. After studying English and Creative Writing, this is an important part of creativity.

“The canvas becomes yourself”

Thom Seddon, 34, Visual artist

From a design and construction perspective, Thom has developed some innovative and striking looks over the years. The fascination began with watching his mother sewing throughout his childhood but progressed into having a go himself. They were simple things to begin with like cutting a line up some jeans, sewing in a new piece of material but that added a new pattern and fit to the garment.

Thom’s personal designs began at around age 12 and he constructs a new look every Tuesday for social media, “That’s for me and so everyone doesn’t forget I exist after lockdown!” he laughed. Having a new constructed outfit every week can incur a certain amount of waste but he has combatted this by using what he has around him to inform an outfit.

Image: Thom in ‘Pages’, the outfit made from book-packaging

As a non-subscriber to fast-fashion, Thom has made outfits out of materials like paper book-packaging. This outfit may only exist for one-wear but it can be recycled afterwards.

After an episode of ‘Drag Race UK’, there were some questions raised by one of the contestants about drag artists being taken seriously in the fashion and design world. However, Thom tells me that he has received requests from designers in the past who want to see their clothing as part of his drag outfit but he made it very clear that he did not do this in any sort of influencer capacity.

Image: Thom in a colourful look called ‘Blobby’

Obviously a large aspect of drag is in the performance and at the moment venues are not open for such events. This has meant Thom has had to diversify slightly with his work. Though this has not been a challenge as an artist; modelling for artwork, organising online drag events, hosting a podcast with drag wife ‘Marilyn Sane’ and even writing a novel are all artistic outlets for Thom at the moment.

‘Unnamed Drag’ Productions, the company created by Nana and Marilyn, is one of Thom’s next big projects and he hopes to continue making content in whatever way possible. Although the pandemic has made things more difficult in general, there is plenty of artistic content that continues to craft and enjoy.