I grew up in upstate New York and spent a lot of time exploring the Adirondack mountains.  This time was very influential and helped direct my interests to art and working with my hands.  I then went to Buffalo State College where I studied art and got my degree in Art Education with a minor in Sculpture.  Sculpture became a growing passion of mine and I decided to return to school and get my Masters in Fine Art at Louisiana State University.  I have since taught 3D Design for three years at Southeastern Louisiana University.  I have recently relocated to Missouri to teach as the Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Northwest Missouri State University.

Tom LaPann


A continuous goal in my work is to make the invisible, visible. I am drawn to systems, patterns and structures that are unseen but cultivate and construct our reality. Sometimes the systems are political, emotional or natural but I enjoy conceptualizing the unseen and trying to represent it as a physical object. My method of constructing objects becomes a sort of scientific approach where I set up scenarios and allow for circumstance to complete the piece. The variability of the conclusion is fascinating to me and allows my work to carry a sort of living quality to the object. The setups speak as metaphors; for instance gravity in my work represents our inevitable return to nature and can speak about our resistance to time.

Currently I am examining the interconnectivity of people, place and things and I am constructing objects using sensors and micro controllers that when the audience participates with the object, a reaction is caused. My aim is to create a invisible connection to the place or object that the viewer completes based on how they move or interact with my work. The way in which I construct my work is material driven that encourages a “process first” approach. The materials inform the process and the process directs the composition. I want to shift interactive work away from the screen and flat projection and into more of the material world. The common way we interact with technology is in a flat, straight forward way where we are observing it. I want to create a different tone to my work where space and movements become our way of interacting, and the viewers’ interactions become more explorative then directive. This esthetic is party informed by the growing interconnectivity to technology and our surroundings but specifically driven by the objective of pieces that are continuously evolving and changing. I want to bring my process art into the digital format and allow works to evolve over time with the variety of circumstance that occurs within the space. These objects become an artifact explaining the surroundings and interactions they have experienced. I enjoy the idea of a piece having multiple interpretations and if viewed twice might have a different understanding.

I see understanding in art to be slippery and should be not overly coded or too obvious and transparent. Abstraction becomes a common tool in my work because of its ability to speak to a more emotive and subconscious understanding of the work. I strive to speak to bigger constructs and by abstracting my forms and materials I believe the objects are better suited as vehicles that viewers can interject personal experience with and become more relatable.