Neil Howe was born in 1951 in Melbourne, Australia. He first studied Biology at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and was awarded a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in 1973 with a triple major in Biochemistry, Zoology and Botany. For a number of years he was employed as a research officer at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Division of Protein Chemistry and later the Neurochemistry Department of Monash University working on Influenza and Muscular Dystrophy research projects. In 1977 Neil Howe left the world of science to study visual art and entered Prahran College of Advanced Education (now Victorian College of the Arts) to study sculpture under John Davis and David Wilson, photography under Athol Shmith and film under Paul Cox. He was awarded a Diploma of Art & Design in 1980 and won the Powell Street Gallery sculpture prize as top sculpture student of that year.
While still a student, Howe first began to exhibit painting and sculpture in various art competitions like the Corio art prize and the Tina Wentcher Sculpture Prize. Howe is also a self taught musician and owning several electronic music synthesizers was invited to join an avant garde music group called The Composers Collective with Ken Guntar, Greg Riddell, and Ash Wednesday. Bringing to the group a visual art perspective, the Composers Collective became "The Collective" and soon began to incorporate performance art into its repertoire with Neil Howe as the artistic director and Greg Riddell as the music director after Ken Guntar moved to Sydney in 1979.
From 1978 to 1981 The Collective were very actively producing and presenting new music and performance art events at many academic institutions and art galleries around Victoria. The performances by the Collective were usually live multimedia events incorporating elements of new music composition directed by Greg Riddell, performance incorporating the main members of the Collective and occasional guest performers, experimental film and early video art created by Neil Howe, with Howe directing the overall performance aesthetic. After 1982 the main members of the group, Neil Howe, music composer Greg Riddell, and poet/percussionist Ian McBryde, formed a contemporary music group called The Dance with Michael Jordan on drums and Chico Henderson on bass and started performing at popular pub and nightclub venues around Melbourne.
In 1982 Howe was invited to exhibit some early video art pieces, used in these performance events, at the Rosslyn Oxely 9 Gallery in Sydney and later, after buying his first Amiga computer, began to create video and computer art, regularly exhibiting these in video and fringe arts festivals in Australia. At about this time the Collective ceased performing but the principle members maintain the core idea of the collective and sometimes come together to work on a joint project. In the spirit of the Collective, Howe often collaborates with artist friends Kevin Mortensen and Stelarc adding the dimension of sound or video to their work.
Through the late 80's and early 90's Neil Howe worked as a video editor in broadcast television, first in news and then drama and finally with a national daily current affairs program. After working all through the first Gulf War, he left television and travelled extensively throughout Europe and USA. Throughout the 90's Howe continued to work with computers and video technology and with the development of high resolution digital cameras was able to develop the "Bodyscape" series of images first exhibited in March 2000 and sponsored by Epson.
Since 2000 Howe has regularly exhibited digital prints and video art in art galleries, museums and film festivals around the world. He is represented by several art galleries and has work in public collections in Australia, the UK and Turkey. His more recent work "When I Grow Up" (2010) won a Metropolis Award at the Madrid Festival of Contemporary Audio-Visual Art (MADATAC) in Spain and multiple awards at the Blue Banana Video Art Festival in Landau, Bavaria.
Neil Howe's art on the Web
Neil Howe's AutoGallery exhibit