Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

Tom Gooch

MA work

The Treehouse Manifesto: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bike

The Treehouse Manifesto: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bike is a fictionalised telling of my own cycle route from my home in Streatham Hill to White City – a journey I have made back and forth some 200 times. It is told through the context of a surreal and fantastical world that can only be entered when riding a bicycle; a world where the city is its own sentient, ever-changing entity that is the cyclist’s primary antagonist. This fictitious, surreal and highly intense world reflects my own opinion of cycling as a hyper-experiential activity that is so much more than simply getting from A to B.

The journey is presented through the context of the world with posters, knick-knacks, visual cues, back stories, and subplot, which I have created in a method not unlike world-building. This is to manifest the feeling that this world exists and keeps ticking over even when the audience isn’t looking – and the inclusion of the cyclist’s journey is almost coincidental, one of a million stories going on in the world, which the audience can pick out and follow through the piece. The work indulges my insatiable lust for 'Easter eggs' (of information, not chocolate) and paying attention to the small details.

This project is an extension of my dissertation (The Treehouse Manifesto), which was a vitally important exercise in self-exploration and discovery. It explicated how everything I draw now is essentially what I viewed as a perfect world as a child, and my relationship and obsession with this vision. My subsequent work has been directly influenced by this and is indebted to it, concerning how this obsession and vision has mapped itself onto cycling, and my highly temperamental love/hate relationship with my bike.


Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Communication

    Programme

    MA Visual Communication, 2019

    Specialism

    visual-communication--illustration

  • I am an illustrator whose work primarily concerns autobiography and humour. I draw a lot, and only feel comfortable with a million things going on at once, which results in me producing a lot of work with lots of intense detail and subtext. My work reflects my own life, interactions, moods, and emotions; told through complicated dystopian cityscapes and surreal, sentient vehicles. This also ranges to include warped imaginary characters and talking animals with drug habits. Drawing is a huge calming influence for me and brings peace to my hectic imagination.


    Commercially, I work mainly with private commissions and self-published prints and zines, but also logo and merch design – for example with Temple Brew House and Essex St. Brewery.


  • Degrees

  • BA English Language and Literature, King's College London, 2016; Art and Design Foundation Degree, New College Nottingham, 2013
  • Experience

  • Illustrator, Essex St. Brewery & Temple Brew House, London 2018; Contributor, Native Instincts, London 2018, 2019; Illustrator/Album artwork, Haniell - People Doing Things, London, 2017
  • Exhibitions

  • QUEST, Garden House Royal College of Art, London, 2019; Work in Progress, Garden House RCA, London, 2019; The Reader Exhibition, Tenderbooks, London, 2018; Islands, Hockney Gallery, London, 2017
  • Awards

  • Gordon Peter Pickard Bursary Award, 2018; RCA Dissertation Prize, 2018
  • Publications

  • Pluralist Newspaper, various issues, 2017–2019