Thomas Stead

The Quickening $2,800.00
Rain $2,700.00
Wild Teasel $2,800.00
Wekiva River $2,300.00
Shroom $2,900.00
Lightscape 10 $3,000.00
Swamp Oak $2,900.00
Thomas Stead, Artist

Thomas Stead

Professor Emeritus, Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, OH,

Retired Chair, Dept. of Fine, Digital and Performing Arts

Tom started painting around age fifteen when his mother gave him his first set of oil paints, brushes and a canvas.  His first painting was of the woods outside his home in Sylvania, Ohio and he absolutely knew when he finished that canvas that he was going to be a painter. It was like flipping a switch. His family always encouraged the arts. His father and grandfather were professional illustrators.  His family founded an illustration and advertising agency with 25 employees. His mother, in her youth, was a professional singer in several major big bands and had her own radio show by the time she was fifteen. She also played classical piano, painted and was active in theater productions. The arts were alive in Tom’s family.

Tom attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (painting) and then a Master of Fine Arts degree (painting). Ohio University recruited him to start a new fine arts program at their branch campus in Portsmouth, Ohio. The program flourished and he was soon hiring adjunct faculty to add to the curriculum. The branch campus of OU became Shawnee State University in 1986 by an act of the legislature.  In 1988, the college received initial funding to build the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, an $18M project with large studio spaces, two theaters, music studios, recital hall, and the first virtual reality music studio. The center opened in 1995.  Tom authored eight new BFA degrees and took them through the state approval process while serving as the first Chairperson of the new programs. When he reached retirement, the BFA had become the second largest degree program at SSU. One of the programs was awarded a top 8 program by the Princeton Review. After retirement in 2005, Tom moved to Cincinnati and was able to resume his real passion: painting.


All art is personal, not only to the artist, but to that other human who is experiencing it as well. Each of us, both artist and viewer, comes to a work with completely unique life experiences and filters. As an artist I am honest to my own thoughts and feelings. When that truly occurs, the art starts to "breath" and take on a life and energy of its own. The difference between looking and really seeing becomes paramount. My art "talks" to me during that process. It makes subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) suggestions for the benefit of the work. The colors and shapes have to dance for me. That complex energy is what I believe makes a good art work attractive and substantial.