Thomas Joseph was born in Saint Louis in 1947. The son of a military surgeon, he traveled throughout the Far East and the United States, attending elementary school in Japan. He attended the University of Colorado for a Bachelors Degree in painting and English, and the University of Southern Illinois for a Master of Fine Arts Degree in painting and art history. During his college years he illustrated academic manuscripts and underground newspapers.
After graduation, four crates of his paintings were mistakenly shipped to San Francisco. Joseph promptly decided the hand of fate was pointing the way and followed his paintings west. At the time, he was painting primarily human figurative imagery, producing a suite of serigraphs and paintings on the mystery and burlesque of the human condition. While in San Francisco, Joseph worked with Erik Erikson to create an arts workshop serving the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit at Mount Zion Hospital. He maintained a studio at the Marin Headlands, a dynamic coastal environment, and worked with David Ireland in the 1980's.
Artistically grounded in those childhood years in Japan—spent wandering through rice paddies, bamboo forests, and temples—walking and drawing—Thomas developed a Zen-like awareness of nature. And through the sensuous properties of the paint, he hopes at best to speak to the soul through the mind's eye, to beckon us to feel beyond the light, shadow and color to the spirit of his subjects and understanding of our own vision.
He currently works out of studios on a farm in Illinois and on the Eastern Coast of Canada with his wife and two wonderful dogs.