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Tom Ellard

Author 
Andrew Frost

Tom Ellard was born in Sydney in 1962. He completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of NSW in 1983 and a Bachelor of Arts Communications (Honours) at the University of Technology in 2007.

Ellard is an artist working across a variety of media including sound, music, video, the web and performance. In the late 1970s after experimenting with tape recorders he joined the band Severed Heads with Richard Fielding and Andrew Wright. The group's early releases on cassette and vinyl were collages of found sound sources such as radio and TV, combined with rudiementary musical elements on synthesisers and pianos. With a sometimes mordant sense of humour the band was a notable addition to the "do it yourself" post Punk aesthetic of the time. After both Fielding and Wright left the band, Ellard continued with the occassional collaboration of others including media artist Garry Bradbury.

As an early adopter of emerging technologies during this period Ellard began experimenting with home computers to produce pattern-based abstract video works to accompany live music performances. During the early 1980s Ellard met artist Stephen Jones and together formed a creative partnership as part of Severed Heads, now a duo, and other video/music projects. The band's music had evloved into a sophisticated blend of danceable noise scapes and songs while its music clips were pioneering combinations of live footage altered and abstracted using a variety of video technologies including the Fairlight CVI. In 1991 Jones left the band while Ellard's creative efforts were effectively split between computer animation, video art and music projects. Although Severed Heads was formally discontinued in 2008, Ellard has performed on a number of occassions in festivals and in more intimate settings, most recently in Belgium in 2011. 

Over the last decade Ellard's projects have encompassed gaming, computer animations and performance. Works include Lives of The Saints [2007], a multi-part narrative sequel to his Mr. AAA Hot Water [2005], an extension and reimagining of the opening credits for the feature film The Illustrated Family Doctor [2005] for which he provided the score; The Shape of A Note [2011], a multi screen, multi media video/music performance presented at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Transoceanic [2011], and a web project Trans Oceanic celebrating the lost art of short wave radio tuning.


Date 
b. 1962
Period of activity 
from 1983

Lives and works

Australia
Selected works
Kato Gets The Girl (excerpt, 1985), – from Kato Gets The Girl, via Vimeo 
Ghosts of Lunches (2011), – from Ghosts of Lunches, via Vimeo 
John Frum (from Lives of the Saints), – from John Frum, via Vimeo 
Pour Chiens Moyens + Chiens Annex (2004,2011), – from Pour Chiens Moyens + Chiens Annex, via Vimeo 
Big Car Retread (1991), – from Big Car Retread, via Vimeo 
Canine (1987), – from Canine, via Vimeo