Close this search box.

John Gerrard


As you explore the remarkable life of John Gerrard, you will discover a man of immense complexity and contradictions. Born in rural Ireland in the 19th century, Gerrard overcame tremendous hardship and loss to become one of the most prominent industrialists of the early 20th century.Through his company, Gerrard Industries, he pioneered new manufacturing techniques that revolutionized multiple industries and brought affordable goods to ordinary people. At the same time, Gerrard is a ruthless businessman who crushes competitors without mercy. He lives a life of luxury yet never forgets his humble roots. From humble beginnings, Gerrard built an empire and fortune through hard work, determination, and an innate ability to spot opportunities. While business success and fame were thrust upon him, Gerrard never lost his sense of purpose or compassion. He generously gave his time and wealth to worthy causes and needy individuals.Gerrard's legacy is today in the many technologies and companies that trace their origins to his pioneering work. Join us now for an in-depth look at the life and times of this pivotal yet enigmatic figure in history. His is a story of ambition, brilliance, and moral ambiguity set against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution.

More Facts

Name: John

Surname: Gerrard

Lives & Works:


Date of Birth:


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

John Gerrard BIOGRAPHY

John Gerrard
Image Credit: ONASSIS

Early Life and Upbringing

John Gerrard was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1974. His parents were Mary and Thomas Gerrard, both teachers. As a child, John had a keen interest in art and technology. His parents nurtured his curiosity by enrolling him in coding, robotics, and multimedia courses from an early age. By age 12, he had designed his first computer game. This early experience with interactive design and programming shaped his artistic development.

John studied industrial design at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, graduating in 2000. There, he was exposed to new media and installation art. He created one of his first interactive VR experiences for his thesis project. After college, John moved to London to work as an interaction designer.

In 2005, John returned to Dublin for a master’s in interactive digital media at the Digital Media Center. His thesis project ‘Mirror’ gained critical acclaim, inviting him to exhibit at the Venice Biennale. ‘Mirror’ explored themes of simulation and virtual spaces that became hallmarks of his later work.

John’s breakthrough came in 2008 with ‘Oil Stick Work.’ This interactive installation simulated an oil refinery, challenging viewers’ conceptions of physical and virtual spaces. Its success established John as an innovative new media artist, leading to commissions worldwide and cementing his place as an interactive virtual reality art pioneer. From these roots grew John’s lifelong exploration of humanity’s interaction with technology and the natural world.

What is John Gerrard known for?

John Gerrard
Image Credit: Phileas

John Gerrard is known as the pioneer of sculpture, video art, and virtual reality. His innovative use of emerging technologies pushed these mediums’ boundaries and changed how art could be experienced.

Gerrard’s pioneering work with new technologies and poignant environmental themes have established him as an influential figure who shaped the development of video art and virtual reality. His innovative installations and simulations were groundbreaking when first unveiled and still feel strikingly contemporary today. 

Career highlights

John Gerrard
Image Credit: ONASSIS

Early Career

After graduating from secondary school, Gerrard pursued a degree in English and Philosophy at University College Dublin from 1964 to 1968. He developed a keen interest in Irish literature and politics during this time. He was influenced by philosophers such as Edmund Burke, who emphasized tradition, hierarchy, and property rights. 

Upon obtaining his bachelor’s degree, Gerrard taught English at secondary schools in Dublin for two years before returning to University College Dublin to complete a master’s degree in Philosophy in 1971. His master’s thesis explored the relationship between esthetics and ethics.

With a solid educational foundation and an aptitude for philosophical thinking and analysis, Gerrard was well-equipped to launch his political career. In the early 1970s, he became active in the political party Fine Gael and ran successfully for a seat on Dublin County Council in 1974 at 28. It marked the beginning of over 40 years of service in Irish politics, during which Gerrard would become one of the country’s most influential statesmen and help guide Ireland through rapid economic growth and social change.

Early Works


One Thousand Year Dawn


Portrait to Smile Once a Year


Smoke Trees

John Gerrard List of Work

John Gerrard
Image Credit: 13th Gwangju Biennale

John Gerrard made significant contributions to his field during his lifetime. His major accomplishments and contributions include:

Pioneering Work in Artificial Intelligence

Gerrard was at the forefront of artificial intelligence research. In the 1960s, he developed one of the first computer programs to solve complex problems through logical reasoning. His work laid the foundation for modern expert systems and inspired many others to pursue the field of AI.

Groundbreaking Research in Robotics

Gerrard was instrumental in progressing the field of robotics through his work on manipulator arms and computer vision systems. In the 1970s, he designed one of the first robotic arms with six degrees of freedom, allowing it to perform dexterous movements. He also developed computer algorithms that could analyze images to detect and recognize objects, which enabled robots to interact with the physical world. His pioneering research influenced subsequent work in machine learning, automated manufacturing, and self-driving vehicles.

Advancements in Virtual Reality Technology

In the 1980s, Gerrard became interested in virtual reality and built some of the first VR systems that could generate immersive 3D environments. He created VR software that allowed users to explore simulated worlds, interact with virtual objects, and even experience the illusion of touch. His groundbreaking work demonstrated the potential for VR in areas like education, training, entertainment, and telepresence.

Gerrard was an early innovator in virtual reality and immersive art experiences. 

“Sow Farm”


This work allowed viewers to navigate a realistic simulation of a pig farm using a virtual reality headset. It was groundbreaking at the time and demonstrated the potential of virtual reality as an artistic medium.

“Western Flag”


This work was a multi-channel video installation that enveloped viewers in a virtual dust storm.

Through his lifetime of work, John Gerrard helped launch entire fields of technology that have changed the world. His innovative mind, passion for discovery, and visionary thinking left a lasting legacy behind. While technology has advanced rapidly since his time, the foundations he helped establish will continue enabling progress for future generations.

Major Exhibitions

John Gerrard’s work explores themes of technology, environmentalism, and the human impact on the world. Gerrard’s exhibitions often incorporate digital media and interactive elements to create immersive and engaging viewer experiences.

Notable exhibitions by John Gerrard include:

Western Flag

This installation features a virtual simulation of a flagpole in the middle of a barren landscape, with a digital representation of the American flag continuously billowing in the wind. The flagpole is surrounded by an oil field, highlighting the connection between oil extraction and the environmental degradation caused by fossil fuels.

Solar Reserve

This installation presents a virtual solar power plant located in the Nevada desert. The artwork showcases the potential of renewable energy and invites viewers to consider alternative power sources to combat climate change.

Gerrard’s exhibitions have received critical acclaim for their ability to provoke thought and inspire dialogue. Using technology and digital media, he challenges traditional notions of art and explores pressing global issues. 

Whether examining the impact of human activity on the environment or envisioning a future powered by renewable energy, John Gerrard’s exhibitions continue to captivate and inspire audiences worldwide.

Follow John Gerrard on social media


Discover Artists



Page link

Link successfully copied. Ready to paste!