Christopher Moving Paintings in 2011 at Lift Trucks Project
|Education||Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California|
|Known for||Painting, Collector, Project Space, Writer, Sketch Artist|
Tom Christopher (born 1952) is an American artist known for his expressionist urban paintings, mostly of New York City. Christopher began as a commercial artist, and has become a notable artist with worldwide galleries and exhibitions.
Life and art
Early life and work
Christopher was born in Hollywood, California. He initially studied at the Pasadena Museum of California Art in 1974. He then went Art Center College of Design in Pasadena to receive his Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1979 where he studied with the noted California artists Lorser Feitelson and Ward Kimball. He supported himself during school by doing drawings at Disney in Anaheim. Christopher grew up "in the LA hot rod / skateboard culture" which influenced his art. Christopher started his art career with commercial art in California. His first work was for CBS Records . He received a gold record for his work on promotional posters. He also worked for Motor Trend magazine. In 1981 he moved to New York City, and worked for the New York Times, People, Fortune and Wall Street Journal, as well as a courtroom artist for CBS news, covering trials as diverse as John Lennon's shooter and "The Diet Doc Killer" Jean Harris.
Transition to Fine Art
Christopher began creating fine art in the mid 80's with "...painting household objects and tools on a Brobdingnagian scale" in addition to making cast-iron sculptures, which were featured "...in galleries in the East Village". These works were most notably featured in Socrates Sculpture Park, Oil and Steel Gallery (L.I.C. NY 1992) and the "Tools as Art: The Hechinger Collection" at National Building Museum Washington D.C. (1990s).
Transition to current style
The early 1990s also marked the start of Tom Christopher's signature NYC paintings. The first gallery to feature this was the Saint Marks Gallery in 1990. After receiving more success and reception with this style, he slowly switched to primarily this style in the 90's, and "Now his subject matter is largely focused on the streets of New York."
Christopher recently did a black and white series of paintings in a "New York is Noir Again" collection. He currently works out of his studio, Lift Trucks Project in North Salem, New York. Most paintings seem to go overseas to international art fairs and Galerie Barbara von Stechow in Frankfurt, and Galerie Tamenaga in Paris, Osaka and Tokyo.
Christopher has also recently been experimenting with collage-style paintings and silkscreens that utilize multiple images and layers with Master Printer Gary Lichtenstein. They had a show together at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut entitled "35 Years of Screenprinting".
Lift Trucks Project
In 2010 Christopher founded Lift Trucks Project in Croton Falls, New York. It is an alternative art space with exhibitions featuring works from FA-Q, Christo, Ottmar Hoerl, Ed Roth ("Big Daddy"), A. R. Penck, Sailor Jerry, and others.
In the summer of 2014, Tom Christopher and Oscar Andy Hammerstein took a studio residence in the Brill Building windows during its renovations. The art project was conducted as an installation and an inside look into the artistic process. The subject matter was Times Square and the streets of New York City.
They are two artists with very different styles but with one thing in common, a love for the cross roads of the world and a plan to make something that's really ugly into something beautiful.
Christopher is known for his New York City urban paintings. Most of the work is painted using small-batch, handmade acrylic paint. Pencil lines from the initial exploratory sketch stage often remain on the white canvass. His typical images include cabbies, delivery men, skylines, and chaotic New York City scenes. His work is usually done with acrylic paint in an expressionist style.
Christopher is most notable in the New York City art scene, with mostly positive reviews from sources such as The New York Times. One article features a quote by former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who stated "Tom has an uncanny talent for capturing the essence of New York City from the perspective of those who have enjoyed the sights of the city on foot."
He has also received acclaim through his museum exhibitions: he was included in the 1999 "New, New York Views" exhibition at Museum of the City of New York, and recently had a "Metropolis" exhibition at Butler Institute of American Art. The Butler Institute of American Art Director and Chief Curator Dr.Louis A. Zona stated that Christopher "...has bridged the gap between pure narrative painting and expressionist abstraction. He has become to American painting what Count Basie or Duke Ellington became to American popular music, not completely jazz but certainly owing much to Charlie Parker and Charlie Mingus."
Christopher has done work on a line of clothing with Urban Outfitters and Nordstroms entitled "Threads4Thought". He also was commissioned by Michel Roux for the "Absolut Collection" for Absolut Vodka and was included in the "Absolut Book" by Richard Lewis. Christopher has also designed a "Cruzer" line of snowboards for Burton Snowboards. In addition, he was commissioned to paint an oversized baseball for the New York Yankees for their 2000 game against the Atlanta Braves.
Selected solo exhibitions
- St. Marks Gallery New York 1990
- Eastmann Wahmendorf Gallery, Helio Gallery, New York 1990
- Tamenaga Gallery, New York: 1993, 1994
- Michael Owen Gallery, New York: 1996
- David Findlay Galleries, New York: 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005
- Galerie Tamenaga, Tokyo, Osaka: 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2007,2010
- Galerie Tamenaga, Paris: 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009,2011,2013,2014,2015
- Galerie Barbara von Stechow, Frankfurt: 1999, 2002, 2004,2007,2009,2012,2013,2014,2015
- Galerie Vomel, Düsseldorf: 2004, 2006, 2010
- Van Brunt Gallery, Beacon, NY: 2007
- Conde Nast Building, NYC Per Cent for Art Commission, 2007
- The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown Ohio: May 2008
- HSBC, Trinkaus and Burkhardt, Frankfurt: 2007, Hamburg: 2008
- J.N. Bartfield Gallery New York: 2008
- Brill Building Project, New York, NY 
Selected group exhibitions
- The Clocktower Center for Art & Urban Resources, New York: 1980
- East Village Artists, Tokyo], Japan: 1985
- "Tools" San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco: 1988
- Socrates Sculpture Park, Oil and Steel Gallery L.I.C. NY 1992
- "Kustom Kulture" The Works Gallery, Los Angeles: 1993
- "Cityscapes" The Roger Smith Gallery, New York: 1993
- "Modern Times" Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah: 1993
- "New, New York Views" Museum of the City of New York City: 1999
- Art Cologne, Germany, 2000
- "Art for America" Benefit: Twin Towers Fund, New York: 2002
- "City Rhythms" Pelham Art Center, Pelham, NY: 2002
- "Kunstakademie, Kunsthalle Trier, Germany": 2002
- "Hessische Landesvertretung" Berlin: 2004
- "New Views: Modern NY Cityscapes" The New York Historical Society Museum: 2004
- "At the Crossroads of Desire" The AXA Gallery, New York: 2004
- FIAC, Paris 2005
- "PRINT- Andy Warhol, Ken Price, Tom Christopher" – Ward Pound Ridge, New York 2006
- Galerie Mada Primavesi, Madrid: 2007
- 35 years of Printmaking, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT 2010
- Greg Hubert Gallery, New York, NY, 2012
- Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, France 2015
Selected public installations
- 1992 – Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York
- 1997 – Roseland Mural, 30' x 230', West 53rd Street, New York (Now demolished) 
- 1998 – MTA, "Art in Transit" Subway Art Series, New York
- 2004 – The New York Historical Society Museum, installation of chair, easel, and painting
- 2006, 2007 – Times Square Project, Times Square, New York
- 2012 – NYU Langone Medical Center, Mural, "I Like New York Because Everything Interesting Can Be Found There," 10' x 30' New York City
- "HammerBrush" bronze, dm various
- "Mason's Trowel" automotive enamel, 20' x 65’
- "Floating I Beam" automotive enamel,130'x 35'
- Tom Christopher, Artnet.com. Retrieved 2012-01-12.
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