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who I am

Artist's Professional Practice History

   My professional art practice, which spans four decades, embraces drawing as major work. Making art since the 1970s, I have mapped the historic transition that artists made from an analog time to a digital one.


   From the drawings of 1969 displayed in the book Nine Drawings: Skeleton Series to about 1999, I  almost exclusively drew expressively from observation in crayon, paintstick, pencil and graphite. During the early 2000s I was combining my drawings with animation in digital video to create narrative motion drawings with soundworks with the themes of the passing of time, small tribulations of life and other varied themes of human interaction. 


   In critic and friend Douglas Davis' reflection on my work 1991+/-, Davis writes:

“….In harmony with all these tendencies, Tomlinson is expansive, personal, open-ended.  He reminds me most of all of the lines in the magnificent Russian novel, The Master and Margarita, in which the circumscribed heroine, Margarita, takes off from the ground and flies, nude but unnoticed, over Moscow: Invisible and free! Invisible and free! In any sense his decision in 1991 to give up compression, perfection, and the idea of “singularity” for a work that knows no end (only a beginning) is as liberating as Margarita’s flight or the Information Highway, whose lust for infinitude he plainly shares.” (from 1000 Miles More, the voices of John Tomlinson, Douglas Davis 1992)

   Following my epic installation, 1991+/-, at the 55 Mercer Gallery in Soho, New York City in 1992, the theme of my 1999 drawing series, Modes of Escape, at The Painting Center in New York, reflected on the many ways we use escape in our daily lives.

   In 2006, I added sound compositions to my drawings in short digital videos on the theme of escape.

  In 2010, I began using a translucent polyester substrate in a series of large drawings titled Dark Storms. These works engendered a positive expression of repressed history and memory, leading to the current series of self-reflections on the experience of being male, The Misery of Men.

   In May 2016 I published a collaboration of affinities with poet/psychologist Karen Morris, a beautiful book entitled Rage: The Misery of Men :: Hope: The Dawning of Men.

   It is available from Three Stones Press at   or from

Amazon at

what I do + have done

   My medium is primarily drawing in graphite as well as digital drawings with tablet and stylus and animated drawing video. 

   I am well qualified to talk about drawing and the teaching of drawing and art.  My online resumé will show a professional academic teaching and directorship career from 1980 to 2013.

   I am well qualified to talk about contemporary art, the meaning and importance of art and the relationship between art and the viewing public.

   I create my art work at the 20th Century Artists Studios of Daria Dorosh and John Tomlinson, located in the Upper Delaware River Valley of Sullivan County, Barryville, NY, 1250 feet / 380 meters above the Delaware River, 13 miles north of Port Jervis, NY, and 100 miles (160 km) northwest of New York City. It sits on a 5 acre / over 2 hectares plot of land with woods, fields, ledges, water garden, stone walls, barn and stone main house.

  My community and art professional projects to date include being an associated participant at Mildred's Lane :: a contemporary [art] complex(ity) in Narrowsburg, New York and Beach Lake, Pennsylvania; and the visual arts coordinator for the NACL Theatre in Highland Lake, New York (both in the Upper Delaware River Valley).

   I am one of four founders in 2001 of the Barryville Area Arts Association, created to foster the fine arts and hand-made crafts in a 10-town area including Pike County, Pennsylvania and Sullivan County, New York State, and centered around Barryville, NY, on the Upper Delaware River, an organization comprising more than 165 members in all the fine arts and artisan practices, including poets, musicians, actors, dancers, performers, art advocates and art lovers. 

   I have a BFA degree in Painting from the Cooper Union School of Art in New York City.

   My teaching career in drawing spans from 1980 to 2013, at Marlboro College, Vermont (2 years), the National Academy of Design School of Art (8 years), Parsons School of Design BFA Program (25 years), and concurrently, director of the AICAD/New York Studio Residency Program (21 years).


  My extensive website is at

  See my animated drawing videos by clicking here.


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