Tommy Bobo

Headshot of Tommy Bobo

Alumni Spotlight | July 2016

KU major: BFA Studio Art- Expanded Media, Class of 2006

Current occupation: Artist, Non-Profit IT Consultant, Adjunct Professor


Mentor while at KU: Cima Katz

Describe the undergraduate research/ creative experience that you had while at KU: I was making a lot of different work and exploring different lines of enquiry. Art school is a little funny in that way: you have to balance assignments along with forming an artistic practice within and outside of them. How do you work on a bigger project while also focusing on weekly assignments for different classes and mediums? The stories I was trying to tell were about my health issues I was struggling with, my family history, and a larger history of the Southern United States. Then on top of that there was just a ton of experimentation with digital tools and methods of making.


Q: What do you think was the most important thing you learned while doing undergraduate research? 

A: I love setting a pie-in-the-sky big goals, and I am terrible at achieving them. Except when I set smaller goals along the way. Which I hate doing. The last thing I want to do is figure out step 6 of 10. Sadly it is the only way anything gets done.


Q: What advice do you have for undergraduates who might be interested in doing creative work?

A: The myth of the artist as someone who suffers away alone with your work is a half truth at best. Ask for help from your peers and help others when you can. All of my best work was completed due to some little favor or helpful insight along the way.


Q: Many undergraduates are making decisions about what to do after they graduate from KU. Having been in those shoes, what do you know now that you wish you’d known then? Do you have any advice?

A:  Having a Studio Art degree left me with a wide range of vastly different choices. I applied for a ton of jobs, and it sucked. I temped and acquired a skill set that has nothing to do with art, but has colored my artistic practice and has made me a better artist. Google "The Bonnie Jones Grant" and take it to heart. Since it was published, I keep it bookmarked on my work computer as a regular reminder that my day job is part of my artistic process. Also, as you potentially enter the 9-5 world, you will suddenly discover the joys of not having homework. It is frankly amazing, but you need to give yourself homework. It can be literally anything that is not your job. You seriously don't want to be the person at a dinner party that their sole identity is their career. Only you can prevent this!