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 J. Thomas Soltesz  (1955 - )

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Lived/Active: California / Philippines      Known for: plein-air landscape painting, murals, graphic design

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Tom Soltesz is primarily known as J. Thomas Soltesz

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Ad Code: 4
J Thomas Soltesz
An example of work by Tom Soltesz
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Tom Soltesz, a native of Pennsylvania, has been a working artist since 1972 when he began as a billboard artist in Florida.  After attending the Colorado Institute of Art, he became a commercial artist producing designs and illustrations for numerous clients. While a commercial artist, he constantly produced and exhibited fine art paintings.

After spending five years in the South Pacific, he returned to California in 1982 where he attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco and pursued an illustration and fine art career.

Tom Soltesz began painting the California landscape with the inspiration of deceased painters Percy Gray and Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel.  He also attended workshops with Kevin Macpherson and Michael Lynch.  These inspirations led him to switch from watercolors to oils and to continue to develop as a traditional landscape painter.  He currently paints in the hills and woodlands near his home in Mill Valley, California.

He exhibits widely; is a Juried Artist Member of the California Art Club; and is one of the founding members of the BayWood Artists, a group of highly respected landscape painters who share a deep commitment to nature and to doing what they can to help preserve the remaining open spaces of the Bay Area.

William Lester Gallery

Biography from William Lester Gallery:
J. Thomas Soltesz was born in a small coal mining town in western Pennsylvania, the fourth in a family of seven children.  He decided in the second grade that he wanted to become a professional artist.  He had always loved to travel, and at an early age, began to see the country.  By the time he graduated from high school, he had hitched rides from Canada, to Florida, California and New York City, all without parental interference.

After high school, he hitch-hiked to Florida where he learned the art of sign, and billboard painting.  At this time he also became seriously interested in watercolors, and began studying privately.  In 1974, he moved to Denver, and enrolled in the Colorado Institute of Art from which he graduated with a degree in Advertising and Design.

He moved to the South Pacific in 1976 to start a graphic design studio in Manila. There he produced corporate identities, annual reports, packaging, and advertising campaigns.  His graphic design career took him to Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Australia and Papua, New Guinea.

Soltesz returned to the U.S. in 1982 to continue my education and freelanced his way through the Academy of Art College, in San Francisco, majoring in illustration and fine art.  After four years of advanced classes at the Academy, he did commercial illustration for a number of years, producing greeting cards, posters, book covers, and prints.

To seek more freedom in his paintings, Soltesz become a mural painter.  He started working for interior designers, reproducing Old Master paintings on walls of homes in the more affluent areas of Northern California.

During this time, he discovered the early California impressionists, and began to paint outdoors from nature exclusively.  He read every book he could find on the subject, went to shows, auctions, and museums and collected whatever images he could find. Finally he had found the medium and style that fitted life style and personality.  He now paints on a daily basis, deriving pleasure from solving a new and unique visual challenge every day.

He tries to share the joy he has found as a plein-air painter by teaching others the technique.  He is a founding member of the BayWood Artists, an environmental action artist organization whose members paint in areas that are in danger of being developed.  By drawing attention to the area with a show, and sale, they then donate a percentage of the sale to save the area. Soltesz also teaches two classes a year, and two workshops.

Tom is enjoying his painting success;  he paints on all his many travels, and rides his 6-year-old Arabian horse through the hills of Marin County.

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Tom Soltesz is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club

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