Hi my name is Tom

I thought I’d come clean right from the very start…despite being curious…I mean I enjoyed acting, science, art, literature, design, geography, history…er…playing the drums and sport…I still left school at 16 without much idea of what I wanted to do or even what I could do! I worked in a pub, as a gardener, on a farm – all jobs, which when I think back, were based around different forms of community.

Recommended by an Aunty (not my real Aunty), I got accepted into a local art college after putting a portfolio together of paintings, drawings, photos and collages that I’d been making alongside everything else. I got an A level in film, an advanced GNVQ and then BTEC foundation in art while working in a cinema as an usher. I was then accepted to go to Cheltenham University to study painting but did pretty much everything except painting while I was there. In my second year I worked with the princes trust, and in my third, with adults who had special needs. 

Much to my surprise, on graduation, I was selected as new graduate of the year by a-n and my prize was a stand at the London Art Fair. From then I had a gallery represent me called Forster Gallery which was based in Fashion Street in the East End. I juggled different jobs alongside a night shift in a supermarket for 4 years and slowly became a lecturer at Hammersmith & Ealing college doing a day a week. London was tough to make sustainable, especially without a support network of artists that would have developed had I studied in London. Moving back West wasn’t my first option but it turned out to be a great decision for my career. 

I have been working on creative, cultural and heritage projects with communities and young people for over a decade now. I set up and delivered an award winning education programme at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea and was recognised nationally for my work in gallery education receiving the inaugural Marsh Award for excellence in 2011 and working on the Plus Tate scheme for 3 years. 

It’s still a balancing act but one I have more control over. I spend time making film, writing performances & drawing, creating work that is exhibited and performed nationally and internationally. My work explores our human experience and, more recently, our relationship with digital technology, including social media and media misinformation.

In the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to explore the world while making art; from filming the delta in Argentina and dancing Japanese butoh in a blow up suit in China, to working with young people on a film for Wales in Venice.

Most recently I was nominated and selected for Jerwood’s Survey – a major exhibition presenting works by 15 early-career UK artists in 2018/19. And of course more recently, have been appointed to undertake a project with Somerset Art Works with young people from Taunton. So here goes…

Still from performance An Interview with…2015 at Standpoint Gallery, London
Still from Journey to the Clouds, 2016, performed in Chengdu and Chongqing, China
Installation shot from The word of mouse (grok your cornea gumbo), 2018 at the Bluecoat
Gallery, Liverpool Photography by Rob Battersby

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