A self portrait of California leather artist Tom Banwell

A self portrait of California leather artist Tom Banwell

About Tom Banwell

I have no formal art training, and am largely self-taught. As a child I was fascinated with helmets and other hats, and I collected them. My love affair with leather began in 1972 when I got a job at Lake Tahoe making belts, purses and sandals. Four years later I started a business designing and making men’s Western leather hats which sold all over the United States. After selling that business I dabbled in woodcarving for a number of years which led eventually to learning how to cast in resin.

My business than became casting custom resin trophies and figurines, which I did for many years, and much of that work consisted of imitating other materials: bronze, marble, wood, etc. In 2008 I discovered leather maskmaking and that has been my passion—and my business—ever since.




Oct 2009 – Feb 2010
Museum of the History of Science
Oxford University, Oxford, UK

 Oct 2011 – Feb 2012
Steampunk: History Beyond Imagination
The Muzeo
Anaheim, California, USA

 Jun 2012—October 2012
Time Machines: Robots, Rockets, and Steampunk
Shelburne Museum
Shelburne, Vermont, USA

 Jun 2013—July 2013
Fetishism in Fashion
Mode Biënnale Arnhem
MoBA, Arnhem, Netherlands

 March 2014—May 2014
Steampunk Art
Hangaram Design Museum
Seoul Art Center
Seoul, Korea

 June 2014—July 2014
Masked Machinations, a solo exhibition
Idea Fabrication Laboratory
Chico, California, USA

 Sept 2014—Feb 2015
Steampunk Art Exhibition
751 D-Park, Beijing, China
K11 Art Mall, Shanghai, China

March 2015--Jan 2015
Edelkoort Exhibitions
Trapholt Museum
Kolding, Denmark

Sept 2017--Nov 2017
Odd Beauty
Southampton Art Center Museum
Southampton, New York, USA










Steampunk! L’esthéque Rétro-FuturÉtienne Barillier
La Bibliothèque Des Miroirs, 2010

The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature
Jeff VanderMeer and S. J. Chambers
Abrams Image, 2011

The Art of Steampunk
Art Donovan
Fox Chapel Publishing, 2011

1000 Steampunk Creations
Dr. Grymm
Quarry Publishers, 2011

Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism
Jay Strongman
Korero Books, UK 2011

Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions
Brian J. Robb
Voyageur Press, 2012

Steampunk Fashion    
Spurgeon Vaughn Ratcliffe
Graffito Books, Ltd, London, 2012

Steampunk Oriental Laboratory 2
Shaoko Hyakutake, editor
Graphic-Sha Publishing Co, Tokyo, 2012

Anatomy of Steampunk: The Fashion of Victorian Futurism
Katherine Gleason
Race Point Publishing
Quayside Publishing Group, 2013

Masks of the World
Robert Ibold & Troy Yohn
Robert Ibold publisher, 2015

The Art of Steampunk
Hiro Wang, editor
Dopress Books
Shenyang, China, 2016