Thomas Somerville

b.1960

Thomas R. Somerville is a native of Rochester, NY and a graduate of The Rochester Institute of Technology. Thomas holds a Masters of Cross Disciplinary Studies in Painting and Poetry, and a second Masters in Art Education. He is probably best known for his paintings of Buddhas or his paintings of social commentary on subjects such as the AIDS epidemic or homophobia. His art work commentating on AIDS was covered in the magazine Art & Understanding, March 2002, Issue 89, “Tomorrow: Thomas Somerville, Canvasses for the Future of AIDS Art”. A body of Tom's work is archived in The Frank Moore Project. One of his pieces traveled the country in Share Your Vision (Honorable Mention) and he has won awards for his teaching from both AIDS Rochester and The MOCHA Project (Men of Color Health Awareness). Thomas has been an Artist in Residence at ARTISANworks in Rochester since 2001 and visualAIDS in NYC since 2002. His proudest moments are listed as seeing his work hang in The Balboa Museum of Art and The Queens Museum of Art, “next to Luna Luis Ortiz and Derek Jackson, two of my idols,” and, “when my sister and I turned the corner in Grand Central Station, and seeing one of my pieces hanging in Vanderbilt Hall. That or when they hung one of my pieces next to a Picasso at ARTISANworks. I kept saying, ‘Picasso, Somerville, Picasso, Somerville....’ until everyone told me to shut-up.”