Thomas Shelford began a fine art career in 2005 after years of working in New York City as a professional web site designer and illustrator. His artwork emphasizes skill and beauty, combining a classical sense of sculptural realism with modernist compositional ideas.
He describes his style as “Realism with modernist guilty pleasures.” In creating his paintings and drawings Thomas works exclusively from life and the imagination. In this era of commoditized images, realistic oil painting provides a medium for authentic individual self-expression that also fulfills core human needs for transcendence and connectedness.
Thomas is a Resident Artist Member of the Salmagundi Club, exhibits regularly at the Gilles Larrain Gallery in SoHo New York City, and is currently exhibited in the collection of the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands at The Hague. Thomas has been a drawing instructor at the Long Island Academy of Fine Art and teaches private students in academic drawing and painting.
Thomas obtained his art education outside the mainstream by studying part-time at the Grand Central Academy, an atelier in midtown Manhattan which was founded by Jacob Collins and modeled after 19th-century teaching methods. He has studied with leading Realist painters such as Richard Piloco, Robert Armetta, Travis Schlaht, Edward Minoff, Jon DeMartin, and Brian Schumacher.
Subscribing to the Renaissance model of the artist as polymath, he pursued an eclectic academic background with degrees in Mathematics and International Relations. An avid surfer, Thomas is a resident of East Hampton New York.