Tom X portrait on canvas

Tom X

“To draw and to paint is to live. For me it’s like breathing.”

Ever since his art was exhibited at the Denver Art Museum in 1976 with shows following in New York, Vancouver, and Sacramento, Tom X has emerged as one of the great American painters of our age.

During the seventies, Tom X explored figurative distortions and perspective in large pastel paintings on canvas. His pastels can rightfully be called “paintings” because he uses the same sophisticated processes to prepare his canvases as the masters of the great European tradition of painters from the fourteenth century on. The underpainting for his large canvases is meant to last for centuries.

Photograph of the artist's studio

While living in New York, Tom X created works that he calls “Beach scenes,” dimensional figures, musicians, clowns and nudes within an ideal, formally reduced landscape with stark colors. The bodies of these figures are distorted in a way that enhances their expression and lends an atmosphere of otherworldliness to the image. Paintings from this period are to be found in major collections in Europe and the United States.

In the late seventies, Tom X went into a Cubist phase, taking on the task of exploring form and space where Braque, Picasso, Delaunay and Duchamp had discontinued their experiments. He has shown with great artistic skill and profound aesthetic vigor that the questions which arose at the beginning of our century are far from settled. He is proof of the dynamic answers worthy of exploration today. The cubist experiments of Tom X reached an aesthetic height with his 1989 bronze sculpture, “The Jester,” which is a striking proof of the validity of cubist concepts in contemporary art.

During the eighties, Tom X also ventured into the area of printmaking. Starting with woodblocks and linocuts in various colors, he worked his way to the very sophisticated reductive silkscreen process he uses today. Thus he is able to pull small series of silkscreen prints that are of an exceptional standard, putting Heidelberg Editions International in line with the great American fine art printmakers of the twentieth century such as Gemini G.E.L. and Tamarind.

The silkscreen prints of this series project a dark mood, reminiscent of German Expressionist Erich Heckel’s woodblock prints or the stained glass master and fine artist, George Rouault. Tom X took up residence in Los Angeles a few years ago where he continues to paint in guerilla fashion, often setting up studio on any corner that suits him. He maintains a close connection with the Grass Valley Graphics Group with whom he regularly exhibits.

Tom X, well-known in the United States and Europe, offers bold, contrasting multiplanar works. Emerging from his “recession art” period where he produced dramatic black and white works on paper, Tom X has turned to color with vigor.

Noted for strong, uncompromising figures, his art vibrates with relentless energy and wry mastery of line and color.

Tom X’s current work demonstrates remarkable maturity in both technique and sensibility. This is not surprising in an artist who has spent years perfecting his line, with reference to classical Greek sculpture, European master drawing and oriental sumi-e painting.

He went on to research aesthetic questions raised by both cubism and expressionism, and his work constantly pushes the boundaries and provides an original synthesis of tradition with a post-modernist outlook.

His most current efforts, still evocative of Rouault’s colorful figures with heavy black lines, are electrifying. Tom X uses the reductionist principle of magnification to restrict his field of vision and amplify it with extreme close-ups.

He is collected by many actors, rock stars and musicians, including Grace Jones, and Diahann Carroll.