I was born in Oakland, California and at the age of six my family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. In the first grade, I sold my first painting from a group show. It was one of many family portraits I painted, my world as the youngest of seven children. I think, in some way, I’m still painting that portrait, only my sense of family is more largely defined.
When I turned twenty, I moved back to Oakland to attend art school at California College of the Arts (then CCAC) and completed my BFA with an emphasis in painting, printmaking and textile arts. During my studies, I was greatly influenced by imagery of the Etruscans as well as the Expressionists.
By and by, figurative artists such as Leon Golub, Jacob Lawrence, Max Beckmann, Romare Bearden, and most recently the stunning quilt paintings of Bisa Butler, began and continue to resonate. Photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, and Diane Arbus opened my eyes to the beauty within the mundane ordinariness of life. I admire the tenacity and independent spirit of Eva Hesse whose short life had so much influence on modern art. Her something/nothingness philosophy and spontaneous and candid approach to her work was deeply inspired.
As a word junkie, the vast swirl of expressions from the Sufi poet Kabir and insightful ruminations of the Persian poet Rumi to contemporary writers and poets like Don DeLillo, Jeanette Winterson, Mary Oliver, Jane Hirschfield, Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison and Arundhati Roy and so many others spark my fire. Artists all who capture a simple moment, thought or gesture of the ordinary and mundane but suggest the extraordinary and mysterious sanctuary that lies beneath the surface. This contemplation is my constant source material.
My process is very stream-of-consciousness. Simple images and bits of words converge as memory and metaphor onto canvas and become part of life’s family portrait.
I have exhibited in numerous solo shows in California and have been featured in group exhibitions in Germany and Japan.
California College of the Arts, Oakland CA
Certificate in Multimedia Design, 2001
SF State University, San Francisco CA
My Other Websites:
Where in the World are Tom and Mary