Tommy Bobo was born in the South, fled to the prairie, and settled in the capital. He makes art primarily with lights and computers, but also enjoys watercolors, writing, and video. His work is sometimes about people and history; the ineptitude of technology; or the color of the sky on his walk to work. Tommy received a BFA in Expanded Media Art from the University of Kansas in 2006 and his MFA in Studio Art from the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2014. He has taught art and design at American University and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Along with that he has held many interesting jobs like painting lines in parking lots, candle making, and raising money for the Quaker lobby in DC. He has received funding and support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and Cultural DC. His work has been covered in Sculpture Magazine, the Washington City Paper, and the Washington Post.

Artist statement

My art training benefited from starting in Kansas. Outsiders complain about the flatness, but Kansans will tell you about the importance of regularly seeing the horizon. Now over a decade removed from Kansas, I still get claustrophobic when I have gone too long without seeing all of the sky. When the sun’s light hits the atmosphere, the rays get diffused and scattered across sky creating that pure blue sky. The light of day is not the single point of the sun, but a illuminated hemisphere that envelops us like a big blue blanket. All of this is to explain why I love working in the dark. Though my studio is small when the lights are off the space becomes near infinite. Working with light and darkness allows me to create my own horizons and blankets of color. The pieces I make are about amplifying nuance, giving light a physicality that confronts the viewer with something they may have otherwise taken for granted. Through materials that disperse and magnify, my work makes light tangible and produces an experience for the viewer that is a balance between a science fair and the transcendent.

Past Exhibition

The Distance Between You and I

January 18 – February 15, 2020

Tommy Bobo creates transcendent spaces through humble materials, amplifying their nuance and meaning with combinations of light, sound, video and color. “The distance between you…

Past Exhibition (2019)

September 28 – November 2, 2019

Hamiltonian Artists’ annual group exhibition debuts the work of Hamiltonian’s five distinguished 2019–2021 fellows Amber Eve Anderson, Akea Brionne Brown, Tommy Bobo, Yacine Tilala…

News & reviews

Washington Post
Mark Jenkins