"Each scene is a snapshot of a story, with a dynamic between the characters working on various levels, which ties into the bigger picture; there’s much more to these pieces than illusion alone."

Tom French

With his predominantly figurative work Tom French is a highly regarded and much collected British artist. Seamlessly merging the use of academic tradition with contemporary urban realism, French’s work occupies the fine line between beautiful and unsettling. Technically light, classical charcoal drawings combine with loose and unfinished abstract forms creating a great sense of movement.


Tom French focuses on the reflection of the conscious and subconscious mind through his use of charcoal enhanced with acrylic, ink and spray paint elements. Favouring a monochromatic approach he creates images that are powerful and raw with timeless lure.


Absorbing himself in all things visual, Tom French believes a good range of reference points help to keep his work interesting and relevant. Philosophical elements and themes of mortality, reality, perception, the psyche and the self, he states that he has an idea of what he wants to achieve but the paintings develop and evolve as they progress.


Born in 1982, Tom French grew up in Newcastle and went on to graduate from Sheffield Institute of Art & Design, achieving a first class BA Honours in 2005. With solo exhibitions both in the UK and the US, collaborations have included the stunning cover artwork for a release of the soundtrack to cult movie Donnie Darko.


Citing the high standard of work in the creative field as an inspiration, Tom French states ‘I always love seeing people’s reaction when viewing the images for the first time’.


Back in 2014 Rhodes Contemporary Art played host to ‘Flux’, our debut solo exhibition with Tom French. FLUX focused on the reflection of the conscious and unconscious mind, with French’s paintings skilfully combining academic realism and surrealism. Many of the works on display focused around the motif the skull, as the artist expanded on his hugely popular ‘Duality’ series. The show completely sold out and enjoyed an extended run due to very high demand.


2016 saw Tom French’s long-awaited return to the gallery, with his hotly anticipated show ‘Transcend’. The show’s titled reflected the fluid viewing experience of the artwork, with the word summarising an important part of the illusionary experience. French explained: “As the nature of the image becomes apparent, what is viewed changes and evolves. The doubled up use of imagery creates an experience greater than the sum of its individual parts. The interpretations of the characters and actions within the paintings transcend upon realisation of the bigger picture, and visa versa.”