Tom Ward is a London based artist & photographer who enjoys exploring the physical world via fragments of time. An alumnus of Falmouth College of Art, he creates powerful, enveloping visual works that deal with a sense of scale and illusions of reality.
Over the last few years Ward has been exploring a miniature world of his own creation. Drawing on his lifelong passion for science and the arts, he has amalgamated the two into a fascinating project that is both scientific and truly organic.
Ward discovered ferrofluids and the science and technology behind the incredible substance a few years ago whilst reading a paper on the technical hurdles encountered by NASA during the Apollo space program.
Having decided to work with this mystical substance Ward set about learning its characteristics and how to manipulate it to his will. By alchemistic experimentation, adding vibrant pigments, oils, detergents and solvents along with the ferrofluid he has been able to create mesmerising miniature 3D worlds. Macro photographs of the resultant mixtures interacting with the magnetic fields has resulted in an abstract collection of works that evokes a sense of scale only rivalled by aerial or cellular photography. It is this playful suspense of scale and context that makes his work so fascinating.
The first ferrofluid was invented by a NASA engineer Steve Papell in the early 1960s. His idea was that if you add these magnetic nanoparticles to fuel, you can move it around in zero gravity with a magnetic field. Since then, ferrofluids have been used far and wide. Today, you can find ferrofluids in speakers, hard drives, and even skateboards. But the future of biomedicine is where things get really exciting.
Scientists like Thomas Webster, the director of the Nanomedicine Laboratory at Northeastern University, are looking at the ways ferrofluid can kill cancer cells, fight drug-resistant infections, and even help neuron's communicate with each other.