Tom Van Sant

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Tom Van Sant
Alma materStanford University,
Otis College of Art and Design
Known forsculpture, space art

Tom Van Sant (born 1931) is a sculptor, painter, and conceptual artist. In his professional work he has executed 77 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 graduated from Stanford University, and Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County with an MFA. While at Stanford he joined Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He had a long association with architect William Pereira and his work has adorned over a dozen Pereira buildings. Van Sant has had fifteen 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 range to 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, technical director Van Warren of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and assisted by Jim Knighton and Leo Blume. The image was first published as the title page of the National Geographic World Atlas.

In 1992, Mr. 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.

Al Gore cited Mr. Van Sant for his beautiful and useful 3d image of the Earth in the film An Inconvenient Truth.

In the summer of 2007 he participated in the Chicago public art exhibition "Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet."


  • Radford, Georgia and Radford, Warren; Sculpture in the Sun, Hawaii's Art for Open Spaces, University of Hawaii Press, 1978, 18–20, 97.


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