tom swanston

Tom Swanston celebrates the splendor of nature by mixing organic imagery with opulent color. Swanston's latest series references landscape traditions using silver, gold, and copper leaf to form the contour of bird and vegetation placed upon a hazy, soft pastel background. The subject matter of his paintings is energetic and decisive in one sense, yet yielding in another. Swanston's work is the end result of an omnivorous search for meaning, and emerges from a love of many seemingly disparate elements. Swanston harnesses the spirituality of the natural world through close observation of the timeless rhythms that inform it.

Swanston has exhibited his art work in 20 solo and over 50 group gallery exhibitions - with the Sense Gallery in San Fran, Lowe Gallery in Atlanta & Santa Monica, CA., M-13 in New York, NY., Horizon Gallery, Jackson Hole, WY. Soren Christensen, New Orleans, LA., and 707 Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.  He has been included in 8 museum exhibitions and published in over 65 trade and lifestyles magazines.  Swanston has been awarded two Ford Foundation grants, a Rubenstein Foundation grant and has been a Fellow at the Hambidge Center for Arts and Sciences.  Swanston’s work is included in private and corporate collections in China, Dubai, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, USVI, UAE, Taiwan, Turkey, the Caribbean, and across the United States.


The visual and spiritual coalesce in my surroundings, from which I draw much of my inspiration.  For the past twenty years I’ve lived and worked on a 650-acre parcel of land, and have come to know well its history, creeks, and ravines.  Seasons change in a profound manner – twice yearly, migrating sandhill cranes rest in the thermal that rises directly overhead.  In this mystical setting, my favorite time of the day is sunset, when what you know to be true is evoked but not seen.  It is that frame of mind that I capture – the twilight between observation and imagination.

The materials I use span the history of technological innovation.  Twenty-five hundred years ago, Coptic Egyptians attributed magical properties to the wax of bees; they heated it, added pigment to it, and used it to paint exquisite portraits of their dearly departed.  Since 1981, the United States has launched space shuttles with skins made of aluminum honeycomb sandwich panels.  These paints and panels, major technical achievements of their respective eras, are what I use to create my paintings.

My work is the end result of an omnivorous search for meaning.  It emerges from the love of many seemingly disparate elements, including the history, processes, and materials of art making; Nature with a capital “N,” then, with a small “n;” an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to color; classic Haiku; the comical of shapes and things paradoxical; Technologies old and new; the spirituality of the natural world, and close observation of simple things come together to form the conceptual underpinnings of my work.

artist bio


1980   Parsons School of Design, Master of Fine Art, New York, NY
1978   Hobart College, Bachelor of Art, Geneva, NY
1977   New York Studio School, New York, NY


Soren Christensen, New Orleans, LA
The Umstead (December), Raleigh, NC                        

Sense Fine Art, Menlo Park, CA
Soren Christensen Gallery, New Orleans, LA

Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA

Soren Christensen Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Bill Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA                       

Flanders Gallery / The Umstead, Raleigh, NC

Lowe Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Lowe Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

Horizon Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

Barkin Leeds, Atlanta, GA

Gomez Gallery, Baltimore, MD

M-13 / Project Room, New York, NY
Harb’s, Lexington, VA
Municipal Gallery, Atlanta, GA


Soren Christensen Gallery, Selections, New Orleans, LA
Visions West, Denver, CO
Thornwood Gallery, Houston, TX

Terminus, Atlanta, GA

J Costello Gallery, Hilton Head, SC

Paderewski Fine Art, Beaver Creek, CO                       

Watson McCrae Gallery, “Peaceable Kingdom”, Sanibel, FL
Soren Christensen Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, GA

Abernathy Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
Fairhope Unitarian, Fairhope, AL

George Segal Gallery, “Art Connections 5”, Montclair, NJ
Lyon & Lyon Fine Art, New Orleans, LA

Audubon Artists Annual, New York City, NY

707 Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM
Soho Myriad, “A Common Thread”, Atlanta, GA

Studio Eleven, Lexington, VA
The Studio, Middleburg, VA

Handsel Gallery, “White”, Santa Fe, NM
Lenox, “Wax Works: 5 Encaustic Artists from GA”, Atlanta, GA

Twinhouse Gallery, “Visions of the Land”, Atlanta, GA}
City Gallery East, “Fire”, Atlanta, GA

Holter Museum of Art, “ANA 27”, Helena, MT
King Shaw Gallery, King Plow Arts Center, Atlanta, GA

Muscarelle Museum of Art, “American Drawing Biennial”, Williamsburg, VA

Stanback Museum, Columbia, SC
McIntosh Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Gibbes Museum, “Northern Seeds - Southern Soil”, Charleston, SC

Haggin Museum, “National Print and Drawing Exhibition”, Stockton, CA
Spazi Contemporary Arts Center, “Small Works", Housatonic, MA

  Hastings Seed Building, “The November Show”, Atlanta, GA
  Fay Gold Gallery, “Exceptional New Artists”, Atlanta, GA
 Beaverton Arts Commission, “Showcase ‘93”, Beaverton, OR
 Galerie Mesa, “Drawn to Extreme”, Mesa, AZ
 Columbia College, “Paper in Particular National Exhibit”, Columbia, MO
 Artsquad, “Contemporary American Drawing”, Easton, PA
 Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA
 Sheppard College, “Works on Paper ‘92”, Sheppardstown,
 University of Richmond, “National Works on Paper”, Richmond, VA
 Haggin Museum, “National Print and Drawing Exhibition”, Stockton, CA
 SW Texas State University, “21st Annual Works on Paper”, San Marcos, TX
 Museum without Walls, “Depth and Diversity in Recent America”, Bemus, NY

 The Lowe Gallery, “Southern Visions”, Atlanta, GA
  Exhibit ‘A’ Gallery, “Small Works”, Atlanta, GA
 King Plow Arts Center, “The Mattress Factory Exhibit”, Atlanta, GA

The Lowe Gallery, “Inner Visions of Space and Time”, Atlanta, GA
Parsons School of Design, “Ten Years Later”, New York, NY

Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI


Almaty Esentai Park, Almaty, Kazakhstan
1010 Midtown Condominiums, Atlanta, GA
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston MA
The Mansion, Atlanta, GA
Alston Bird, Atlanta, GA
Marco Island Spa, Marco Island, FL
Ansley Country Club, Atlanta, GA
Marriott, Austin, TX
Marriott, Orlando, FL
Marriott, New Orleans, LA
Atlantis III, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Callaway Gardens, Pine Mt. GA
Chicago Intercontinental, Chicago, IL|
JW Marriott,  Washington DC
Childress Klein Properties, Atlanta, GA
Mass Mutual, Boston, MA
Disney Yacht Club, Orlando, FL
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, CT
DLA Piper, Atlanta, GA
Northside Hospital, Women’s Center, Atlanta, GA
Drew, Eckill & Farnham, Atlanta, GA
Liberty Mutual,  Boston, MA
Omni Hotel at CNN Center, Atlanta, GA
EDL & Associates, Atlanta, GA
Raines and Raines, New York, NY
Embassy Suites Hotel, Lombard, IL
Richmond Hyatt Regency, Richmond, VA
Epstein, Becker & Green, Boston, MA
Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove, FL
Ethan Allen International, Danbury, CT
Ritz-Carlton, Dubai
Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, FL
Euro Disney, Paris, France
Ritz-Carlton, Ocoee, GA
Fannie Mae, Atlanta, GA
Ritz-Carlton, Naples, FL
Fleishman-Hillard, Atlanta, GA
Ritz-Carlton, Osaka, Japan
Four Seasons, Jackson Hole, WY
Four Seasons, Palo Alto, CA
Four Seasons, Marrakech, Morocco
Frito-Lay, Atlanta, GA
Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen, China
GE E-Commerce, Atlanta, GA
Rollins Sch. Public Health, Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA
General Service Administration –  PNH, Atlanta, GA
Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
Goizueta Schl. Of Business, Emory, Atlanta, GA
Scient, Atlanta, GA
Grady Hospital,9A, Atlanta, GA
Sterling Drug, Philadelphia, PA
Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC
Raffles, Istanbul, Turkey
St. Regis Hotel, New York, NY
St. Regis Hotel, Atlanta, GA
Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta, GA
SunTrust Corporation, Atlanta, GA
Henderson’s Wharf, Baltimore, MD
The Peninsula, Chicago, IL
Toronto Intercontinental,Toronto, Canada
Hilton Anatole, Dallas, TX
Tremont Plaza, Baltimore, MD
Hilton Hotels, Atlanta GA
W Hotel, Buckhead, Atlanta, GA
Lotte, Seoul, Korea
W Hotel Midtown, Atlanta, GA
Insignia Centennial Tower, Atlanta, GA
The Waldorf Astoria, New York, NY
IDI, Atlanta, GA
Westin Hotel, St. John USVI
IXL Enterprises, Atlanta, GA
Westin Hotel, Hilton Head, SC
King Plow Arts Center,  Atlanta, GA
XL, Pembroke, Bermuda
Yinchuan Kempinski, Beijing, China
Appleton Partners, Boston, MA


Clinton Smith, “Designer Showhouse”, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles (Feb)

Clinton Smith, “The Mansion,” Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles (August)
Georgia Dzurica, “Green EcoManor: Sustainable Style,” Veranda Magazine (May-June)
Lori Johnston, “Designs for Life and Work that Intertwine,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution (March 20)
LaTria Garnigan, “Painting the Town,” South Fulton Neighbor (March 19)
Rumaan Alam, “Three Green Homes,” Domino Magazine (March)
Clinton Smith. “Summer Simplicity: 2008 Designer Showhouse.” Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles (Summer)

Factory Girl. Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine (July)
Reinventing the Green House. Garden and Gun (Spring)
Building Green. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution (February 1)

Golden, Nichole.  StudioSwan Features “new works.” The Newnan Times-Herald (November 17
Campanella, Thomas J. A Workable Utopia. Metropolis (June 2006)
Lerner, Jonathan. Rustic Revolution in the Hill Country. Atlanta Peach Magazine (Winter)
Thomas, Mary Booth. Location, Location, Location. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution (September 9
Image and listing. More To Do. The Ledger-Enquirer (May 4)
Image and write-up. Artist to Demonstrate at Pasaquan. The Tri-Country Journal (May 3)

Frank, Peter. Go: Gail Foster, Thomas Swanston, Tremain Smith. The LA Weekly (October 21-27)
Harral, Alyse. Blood, Sweat & Trim.  Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles (October)
Laughinghouse, Amy. White Hot.  Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles (March)

Cullum, Jerry. A Blending of Styles, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (September)
Gleim, Sarah. Double Take for Art’s Sake, Atlanta Magazine’s Home (Fall)
Pendley Koser, Karin. An Art Museum within Its Walls, A+ (Spring)

Pendley Koser, Karin. Unconventional Art at the Georgia International Convention Center, Supplement to Atlanta Business Chronicle (March)
Cullum, Jerry. Art Seen and Heard, The Atlanta Journal Constitution (January)

Cullum, Jerry. Hot Spots, Georgia, Art Papers (July/August)
Jones, Jennifer. Bridging the Gap–With Art.  The Northside Neighbor (May)
Klausner, Debra. Helping Children across the Bridge, The Gazette (May)

Fox, Catherine. Minding Their Beeswax, The Atlanta Journal (September 15)
Blaise, Oma.  Two of a Kind, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles (September)
Cullum, Jerry.  Words help forge a fiery intensity, The Atlanta Journal (June 18)

Frank, Peter.  Ana 27-National Juried Exhibition, Holter Museum of Art Exhibition Catalogue
Cullum, Jerry.  Pleasure and Personal Pilgrimage, (Lowe Gallery) Exhibtion Catalogue
Dorsey, John.  Paintings Suggest Grasping At Fog, Baltimore Sun, (March 7)
Guiliano, Mike. In the Abstract, City Paper, (March 12)

Blaise, Oma. People, Short Takes, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles (November)
Locke, Donald. Visual Arts Review, Creative Loafing (October 4)
Cullum, Jerry, Figuratively Speaking, The Atlanta Constitution (September 29)
Schwartz, Carolan. Revival of the Figure, (City Gallery East) Exhibition Catalogue
Carey, Erika.  A Sense of Place, (Gibbes Museum of Fine Arts) Exhibition Catalogue
Day, Jeffrey. Artists reveal Transformation after Transplantation, The State (July 2)
Greenberg, Suzie. The Yankees are Coming!, The Herald, (June 29-July 12)
Cullum, Jerry. Sedate November a Worthwhile Experience, The Atlanta Constitution (November 17)
Prochaska, Tom. Showcase ’93: (Beaverton Arts Commission) Exhibition Catalogue
Jinkner-Lloyd, Amy. Set & Subset, Creative Loafing (September 3)
Cullum, Jerry. Visual Arts Review, The Atlanta Constitution (March 19)

Trader, Beverly. So Long Soho, Atlanta Magazine (March 19)

Ruhstaller, Todd. Stockton National, (Haggin Museum) Exhibition Catalogue
Carbrey, Agnes. The Lexington News-Gazette (July 24)

Levy, David. Ten Years Later, (Parson’s School of design) Exhibition Catalogue

Perry, Pam. Urban & Endangered Landscape Engineering, Creative Loafing (December 8)