Thomas Torak is a modern master painter working in the classical tradition. His paintings are known for their breadth and luminosity, rich color and lively brushwork. In 2008 he was invited join the staff of the Art Students League of New York as an instructor of portraiture and figure painting. His paintings have been recognized with the American Artists Professional League Medal of Honor at their 66th Grand National Exhibition; the Audubon Artists Gold Medal of Honor at their 59th Annual Exhibition; the Allied Artists of America Silver Medal of Honor at their 93rd Annual Exhibition, the Academic Artists Gold Medal at their 61st National Exhibition of Contemporary Realism and the Honor Award for Oil at the Academic Artists Association 50th and54th National Exhibitions, the Frank C. Wright Medal of Honor at the 2005 American Artists Professional League Summer Members Exhibition and Best of Show at the 8th Annual National Small Oil Painting Exhibition in Wichita, KA. He has received the top awards at the Salmagundi Club in New York City at their thumb box exhibition and a special members exhibit of floral paintings. His painting, The Artist, was purchased by the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe, LA for their permanent collection and his painting Onions is in the permanent collection of the Art Students League. There is a feature article about Thomas’ work in the October 2013 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.
Thomas was born in Pottstown, PA in 1953 and moved to New York in 1974 to study at the Art Students League. He studied the first year with Robert Beverly Hale and the next seven years with Frank Mason. Under Mason he learned not only the art of painting but also the craft. He prepares his own canvas, mediums and varnishes and uses only hand ground paint, often grinding the colors himself,adifficult and time-consuming task, abandoned by most contemporary artists, but vital to the quality of his work. The methods and techniques he employs are those of the Old Masters but his paintings are decidedly contemporary. Many of his still lifes contain timeless subject matter such as fruit and flowers, but in others you will find more modern objects such as pizza, comic books or baseball mitts. Walks near his Vermont home or a stroll along the Maine coastlineoften inspire landscapes.
He has been elected to membership in the National Arts Club, the Salmagundi Club, the American Artists Professional League, Allied Artists of America, Audubon Artists, the Academic Artists Association, and signature membership in Oil Painters of America. His paintings have been seen at the Butler Institute of American Art, the Springfield Museum of Fine Art, the Huntsville Museum of Art, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, the National Academy Museum, and the Chautauqua Art Galleries.