Tom Van Sant, Renaissance Kite Man

Ali Fujino
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 ´╗┐Tom Van Sant is that type of artist. Professionally trained he has been on the cutting edge of art and design for decades. Like the masters, he works in a way that incorporates everything in his life into his art — his personal life, his professional and technical skills and his passion to know about the world in which he lives.

Wikipedia describes Van Sant as a sculptor, painter, and conceptual artist. In his professional work he has executed over sixty major sculpture and mural commissions for public spaces around the world. These include the international airports of Honolulu, Taipei and Los Angeles, the civic centers of Los Angeles, Newport Beach and Inglewood, and corporate centers in Taiwan, Manila, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Honolulu and San Francisco. He had a long association with architect William Pereira and his work has adorned over a dozen Pereira buildings. Van Sant has had more than a dozen one-man exhibits in the United States, Europe and Australia. His art is represented in public and private collections throughout the world.

Van Sant’s professional skills and intellectual interests span architectural design, city planning, art education and advanced technical invention. His large scale conceptual art projects of the 1980s led to the creation of The GeoSphere Project, an ambitious environmental display system designed to illustrate the issues of earth resource management.

The GeoSphere Image marks a milestone in cartographic history. It is the first satellite map of the earth, showing the real world as it appears from space. The work required one year of effort on the world’s most powerful graphics computers by Van Sant and technical director Van Warren of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and was assisted by Jim Knighton and Leo Blume. The image was first published as the title page of the National Geographic World Atlas.

In 1992, Van Sant created an installation called “the Earth Situation Room,” an interactive project which features visualizations of earth systems and changes. This project was first shown at ECO-92, the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro.


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