How did I choose the images?
First pass -- emotional reaction
the filtered out many of the ones that are similar in style to mine, because I think they felt less new to me. While I really like the images, I enjoyed the viewing of the images that represent the things Tom sees that I don't see. Then as I started to notice some trends, like the red accents, and faces, I decided there were some strong thematic threads running through many of Tom's pieces. So as I started to organize the emotionally powerful images in to categories. The ones that didn't fit the categories, were hard to give up as there are so many cool images in there, and I'm sure themes in there as well, but didn't jump out at me as much. I imagine another curator might organize very differently.
I ended up picking images that I liked, not what I thought were the "best" images. I think when picking out my own images for shows, I'm strongly influenced by what I think people will like (both the broad public as well as critics/people who have seen millions of images) which of course has to be moderated or every art show would probably be cute refugee kittens in war torn countries. Picking for Tom I sort of had the unkind approach of choosing selfishly without caring what people will think.
The red accent
I noticed many of Tom's images had a small but strong red highlight, accent or spot in them. It was common enough that I would chuckle when I came across them. I started marking them to show Tom, to ask whether he was looking for that consciously. When looking at the set, I thought they went really nicely together and decided to include them, and see if the viewers felt like there was a story here beyond the surface level color similarity.
I started this with an image of Tom's street art that reminded me of the idealistic vision of the future from the 50s, where science fiction authors optimistically assumed we'd be commuting on monorails and the urban landscape is filled with bright reds, oranges and blues. Then I noticed that were many images where either the color or the composition, gave me similar positive emotions.
There were a number of images where the main subject is isolated, or apart from its surroundings. I don't know whether Tom intended this or was merely compositionally simplifying the image. Perhaps that's a reflection of me, reading touch of loneliness in to the image. Actually it's not so much loneliness as a standing by oneself. Perhaps the feeling of being on a winter's beach by one's self leaning in to the wind, enjoying the moment before the cold seeps in, and one walks back to the party.
Between here and there
Tom does great work with putting something between the viewer and the background, forcing them to try and see through or around. I think it creates a tension for the viewer, because one can't lean to the left or the right with a 2D image to get a better view. I think it's brave of Tom to work this tension because at a casual glance some of these images might be dismissed as an accidental frame, but with careful looking these are anything but. Carefully crafted these images to leave the viewer with a sense of mystery of what is beyond.
Inhabitants of the wall
I'm told that humans are predisposed to seeing faces especially when there is a bilateral symmetry present becasue a large portion of our brain's processing power is dedicated to recognizing faces and friend/foe distinction. Clearly I do as I kept seeing so many faces as well as imaginary characters in Tom's images, many of which were not intentionally placed there by the street artist. Tom's recomposing and blending repurposes the original art innovative and fun new stories, leaving room for the viewer to bring their own perspective as well.
This set was created from a set of images that were left over when I grouped the other categories together. Many of them had a similar mood or feeling, or maybe it was just similarity in tones of color, and suddenly the set leaped out at me, I removed the outliers and then I could see that these seem to be telling a story in a very lyrical depiction of elements of stories, or maybe there is a single story thread.
Normally after having chosen images for a show, I then proceed to sequence them to provide a visual sequence or story in the order I think most people will view the images. However with the digital presentation, and images are grouped in to a tablet, there's a sequence but people can enter at any point and stop/go backwards/forwards at whatever speed they want. Additionally there's no correclation between images that are appearing on the tablets next to each other. So there's an interesting element of letting that go.