Thom Gorst trained as an architect, qualifying in 1982. During the 1980s he worked in London for the Greater London Council, and was a member of the Coin Street Design Team. During this time he was a regular contributor to the Building Design magazine and the Architects Journal , where he was a member of the editorial board. By the end of the 80’s he moved to the south west, and taught at Bath University and the University of the West of England, specialising in the history and theory of art and architecture.
He started work on what would become his doctorate in 2005 at the Glasgow School of Art. The study soon evolved into an aesthetic examination into the potential of industrial ruins to be regarded as things of beauty, and he engaged with many ruinous examples of modernity, such as factories, warehouses and ships. It was an unplanned part of the academic unfolding of the subject that in late 2008 the first paintings were made.
“I need to paint representations of distressed and derelict metal on clean, primed canvas. I need to encapsulate what is rough and abrasive with varnish, which halts the processes of decay. I need to work with colours that are alien to my subject: fizzy lemon or candy pink for a fo’c’sle chequerplate; or duvet-green for a sheet of unspeakably mutilated ship-side.”