Tom Sowden

Tom Sowden


Personal statement

Tom Sowden is a practising artist, curator, lecturer, researcher and Head of the Design Field. Prior to joining Bath School of Art and Design at Bath Spa University, Tom worked at the University of the West of England, Bristol as Associate Head of Department for Communication Design and Programme Leader for MA Design.

Tom’s artistic practice often involves a knowing but light-hearted reference to the book works of Ed Ruscha produced during the 1960s and 1970s. He uses Ruscha’s systems, processes and style to explore commonplace contemporary British concerns. He works across a number of disciplines, primarily with the artist’s book format but also video, photography, printmaking and sculpture.

For a number of years Tom has been collecting artists’ books that reference, mimic or are made in homage to the iconic books made by Ed Ruscha. He collaborates with the Berlin-based conceptual poet/artist Michalis Pichler, another avid collector of Ruscha-esque books, and together they have co-curated exhibitions of these books under the title "Follow-ed (after hokusai)".

This exhibition has shown at:

  • Winchester Gallery
  • Arnolfini, Bristol
  • gallery P74, Ljubljana
  • Monash University, Melbourne
  • Cabinet du Livre d’Artiste, Rennes.

Tom’s artists’ books are held in a range of national and international public collections including:

  • Tate Britain
  • Kunstbibliothek, 
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany
  • Spazio Libro d’Artista, Catania, Italy
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Winchester School of Art
  • Chelsea College of Art
  • Camberwell College of Arts
  • University of Plymouth
  • UCA Farnham
  • Mills College, Oakland, USA
  • Texas Gallery, Houston, USA
  • Wexford Artists’ Book Collection, Ireland.

Tom has been principal investigator and co-investigator on a number of AHRC funded research projects exploring the artist’s book and laser cutting technology for the arts. He is currently the Art Editor for the Artist’s Book Yearbook (Impact Press) and The Blue Notebook (Wild Conversations Press) and is one of the founders and organisers of the Bristol Artists Book Event held biennially at Arnolfini, Bristol. 

Academic qualifications

  • MA Book Arts, Camberwell College of Art
  • BA (Hons) Fine Art, Southampton Institute (now Solent University).

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

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