Thom Wheeler makes art that springs from a joy of living and an unflinching optimism.
Thom was born in Alice Texas in 1946. After serving as a sergeant in the US Army Medical Corp from 1969-1971 he attended Sam Houston University and graduated in 1975.
His art career began in Houston Texas as a sculptor of monumental works of stone, wood and metal. He was commissioned by designers and architects across the United States to create large-scale sculptures that adorned restaurants, hotels, offices, private homes, and yachts. The size of the pieces allowed him more canvas to interpret the feelings his clients wanted to convey. His work embodied the exuberance of the oil boom in his native Texas.
In 1985 Thom left the big city for Taos, New Mexico. His sculpture and painting turned to a very distinct New Mexican theme. He creates aluminum, bronze, and copper wall sculptors that resemble giant pieces of jewelry, embellished with semi-precious stone.
One of Thom’s fascinations that truly combines his sculptors and love of painting began after receiving a commission for a set of patina copper doors. These massive doors depicted a scene from the Sister Peaks in Oregon. In order to portray the scene, a combination of twenty different colors of patinas was used. He went on to create a series of smaller copper pieces, mostly abstracts using a combination of painted and patina copper that can be displayed indoors or outdoors. Since building a foundry at his studio in Taos he began to create his own style of sand-caste metal pieces that he incorporates into many areas of his work.
Tom gained much recognition for his religious themed art. His knowledge and fascination with history and a variety of religions has taken him on an interesting journey. He enjoys mixing Southwest or Native beliefs with those of other religions to cast a more modern approach on how we view religion in our lives. A celtic cross can have a Zuni bear embedded in the middle, or a butterfly might flutter onto a Star of David. Anything is possible.
Thom’s work is constantly evolving and he is never bored with creating art and living life to the fullest. He is truly a renaissance man who embraces architecture, gardening, history, and cooking with the same skill and passion that he does with his art. Traveling throughout the United Stares and Europe has been a great source of joy and inspiration for him and a passion he shares with his wife, Lavina. Thom’s love of his family and friends is of utmost importance to him. He is devoted to helping others and has given tirelessly of his time and his art to fundraisers for a wide variety of community and individual causes. On numerous occasions he has hosted and cooked for up to three hundred people at this home to raise money for the Taos Animal Shelter, the Lilac Festival, and for friends in need of support during times of personal crisis.
His love of Taos and eagerness to give back to his community is evident in his service on the Board and as President of the Animal Shelter for eight years. He recently co founded the Taos Lilac Festival to foster community participants on beautifying Taos and increase tourism to the city. He is currently working to restore the Sierra Vista cemetery where many of the Taos most prominent citizens are buried including the Founding Artists. He welcomes guest to visit his studio on a daily basis in his 38,000 brick adobe home that he designed and built and shares with his wife, dogs, cat, and various other critters.