About The Artist

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Tom Semple is an artist working in visual, conceptual, relational, environmental, and collaborative realms.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Walking Prayer (Mt. Rainier 2006)

It's been over five years since I completed Walking Prayer and I feel that is enough time passed finally to respectfully publish and show it.
I began Walking Prayer as a ritual prayer for close friends and family (and by extension everyone) who were suffering from devestating illnesses.
I decided on using a red cross, the symbol for first aid and healing, as the theme for the work.
It began with a cross in my front yard made with fertilizer on the lawn that could be seen from the ground or the air.
Later in the year I took off with Colleen and we began a walk around Mt. Rainier. We moved counter clockwise on the Wonderland Trail, a 93 mile long trail circumnavigating the mountain.
The trail is almost never flat. You are either going up at a steep rate, or going down at a steep rate. At each high point on the trail I would stop and make a small red cross in the middle of the trail. I would then photograph it, take a photo pointing toward the peak (often it is hidden by forest), and then I would mix the pigment (a non toxic powder imbued with a prayer for healing) into the dust of the trail.
I picture that dust/prayer adhering to the boots of other hikers and being brought back to their homes all over the world. It starts off as a circle and then heads away from the center, like a pinwheel. That dust/prayer has been snowed on and disolved into the streams and rivers and eventually into the Pacific Ocean. I imagine some of it still remains on the trails

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the Barn


It's been awhile since I posted anything on this blog. I have been focusing my creative energies on getting my new studio set up, teaching out of state, and looking for new avenues for my relational art. Things seem to be coming together (or possibly they're falling apart in the right way) and I expect to be adding to the blog soon with new projects begun. In the meantime here's a picture of the new studio (the Barn). I expect it will be sided in a week or so and then it's a matter of getting the artwork flowing. It's as rough as it looks but the inside is huge and exciting. Lots of room for art and people.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009



I believe that art is language—a way of communicating—and different kinds of art communicate not only different messages, but they engage different audiences. Therefore, for me, all art is valid, no matter the media or style. (I’m not stating that all art is good, that’s a whole different argument.) Because I would like to make a connection with all sorts of people, I speak (artistically) in many different languages, inviting people to engage with the work at whatever level of understanding they fined themselves.

A work of relational art may be understood in an academic setting but it might not even be considered art in another setting. Naturalistic painting might come across as simplistic and archaic to some but contemporary and valued by others. Functional art (sometimes referred to as ‘craft.’) is revered by one group while others label it non-art. Often within my work I incorporate different concepts or styles in order to be more inclusive to a larger audience and for the different concepts to create a synergy.

An example might be aspects of realism within an abstraction (Annunciation),
or an aesthetically pleasing setting for a relational work (Aqua Regis), or functional art incorporated into a performative work (Tea Party).



I have put off publishing a web site or blog site because I was concerned that the art that I put up might lock me into something that I might regret in the future. My work continues to evolve and devolve over the years, so that the work I was doing 10 years ago looks nothing like the work I am into now. There are ideas that keep appearing and techniques that I continue to use but the context, the process, and the product is constantly changing. I was concerned that rather than adding a new audience with different tastes, my new work might alienate people who appreciate the older stuff. Conversely, images of older work might alienate someone drawn to the newer stuff. This gets even messier when I consider revisiting older means of working which could eventually alienate everyone. What a mess—and a fearful way of living—and probably a lot of damned foolishness.

So, I have decided to put it all out there and let it fall as it will. I’d appreciate any and all input.