SURGE Art Team


Tom Pattinson Director

Tom Pattinson is the founder and director of SURGE Art. He has been curating major art events in Beijing since 2006 under the title Affordable Art China and formally launched SURGE Art in 2012. Tom is responsible for the overall vision of the company and sourcing new artists. He has over 10 years experience in the China art market and over 15 years experience in publishing and media.

Tom grow up in an artistic environment spending weekends painting with his mother, an art teacher, and visiting galleries with teachers, friends and family. In the late 1990s he worked in London alongside many of the Young British Artists of this period including Turner Prize winning artists.

His enthusiasm for art followed him to China where he immediately began curating exhibitions showcasing emerging artists after realising there were few platforms for young artists to exhibit and the new generation of buyers to source quality, original and accessible art.

Tom studied at Qingdao Ocean University, Beijing Normal University and the London’s School or Oriental and African Studies, where he graduated with a degree in Chinese and Social Anthropology. He worked as a journalist on the foreign desk at the Sunday Times in London before returning to China to launch and edit the arts and entertainment magazine Time Out Beijing. Tom has also launched an independent publishing company producing custom magazines and art books and is a partner in several other start up companies. Tom regularly writes and comments for media including BBC, Vogue China, Esquire, the Guardian and The London Times.

What is art to you? 
Art is a window into a time and place. It is shows the mood of a place, of a society, of a time and of a people. Art is what should make people feel something. Whether thats a positive or negative emotion it should be something that gives people to step back and think more about our lives.

Fun Facts:
Tom was actually on a UK reality TV show
Tom worked with a Turner Prize art winner but kicks himself for never buying any of his work
Tom wanted to be a rock star and still lives vicariously by touring with a variety of B list bands. Every year for the last ten years he has travelled 8,000 kms to see his favourite band play a one off gig.

Tom’s Art Picks:

Anna and Beast

Not Here, Dong Bin
Anna and the Beast, Zhang Zhanzhan
Red No. 4, Li Jinguo