Thom was born in Alice Texas in 1946. After serving as a sergeant in the US Army Medical Corp from 1969-1971 he attended Sam Houston University and graduated in 1975. His art career began in Houston Texas as a sculptor of monumental works of stone, wood and metal. He was commissioned by designers and architects across the United States to create large-scale sculptures that adorned restaurants, hotels, offices, private homes and yachts. The size of these pieces allowed him more canvas to interpret the feelings his clients wanted to convey. His work embodied the exuberance of the oil boom in his native Texas.
In 1985 Thom left the big city for Taos, New Mexico. His sculpture and painting turned to a very distinct New Mexican theme. He creates aluminum, bronze and copper wall sculptures that resemble giant pieces of jewelry, embellished with semi-precious stone.
More recently he has taken to painting with the same sensibilities used in his sculpture. He paints with a palette knife, which allows him to work the oils similar to his texturing of metals. He feels oils are more alive and his application of thick, saturated colors creates complexity in his simplified compositions.
Thom has gained much recognition for his religious themed art. His knowledge and fascination with history and a variety of religions has taken him on an interesting journey. He enjoys mixing Southwest or Native American beliefs with those of other religions to cast a more modern approach on how we view religion in our lives. A Celtic cross can have a Zuni bear embedded in the middle, or a butterfly might flutter onto a Star of David. Anything is possible.
Thom’s work is constantly evolving and he is never bored with creating art and living life to its fullest.
He is truly a renaissance man who embraces architecture, gardening, history and cooking with the same skill and passion that he does with his art.
Traveling throughout the United States and Europe has been a great source of joy and inspiration for him and a passion he shares with his wife, Lavinia.
He welcomes guests to visit his studio on a daily basis in his 38,000 brick adobe home that he designed and built and shares with his wife, dogs, a cat and various other critters
December '21 | January '22 • Written by Shari Morrison • Photographed by Daniel Nadelbach
Fresno Metropolitan Museum Fresno, California
Building 98 Museum Galleries Marfa Texas
Fort D.A. National Historic Site Marfa, Texas
Dr. Jonas Salk, LaJolla, California
Dennis Hopper, Hollywood, California
Louis Gossett Jr., Hollywood, California
Dean Stockwell, Hollywood, California
Ole Miss University, Oxford, Mississippi
Randy Travis, Nashville, Tennessee
Banco di Roma, Rome Italy
Katz&Bestoff, New Orleans, Louisiana
Holy Cross Hospital Mural, Taos, New Mexico
The Lannon Foundation, Palm Beach, Florida
The Grand Hotel, Houston, Texas
Cullen Eye Institute, Houston, Texas
Virlane Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana
Heritage Farms, Houston, Texas
Orbis Foundation, Houston, Texas
Arena Theater, Houston, Texas
All Saints Hospital Mural, Fort Worth, Texas
Rivera Funeral Park Memorial Wall, Santa Fe, NM
International Woman’s Foundation Marfa, Texas
Hess Corporation, Houston Texas
International Game Fish Museum, Florida
Featured artist Southwest Magazine, February 1983
Featured artist Santa Fe Magazine, April 1988
Cover artist Pulse Magazine, June 1991
Cover artist Taos Magazine, October 1992
Featured artist in New Mexico Magazine, April 1993
Cover artist Houston Chronicle, April 1993
Cover artist Traditions Southwest, May 1993
Maverick Award designer for Taos Talking Pictures, April 1996
American Museum-One man show, 1998
Cover artist Enchanted Homes, 2003
Seattle Homes, 2001
Southwest Art “Emerging Artist”, 2006
Cowboys & Indians Magazine, 2008
Cover Taos Magazine, 2007
Lifetime Achievement Award, Taos Art Association, 2008
Show at the Governors Gallery, Santa Fe, 2009
Humanitarian Award, Taos Art Association, 2009
President and Board Member Taos Animal Shelter, 2004-2012
President and Co-founder of the Taos Lilac Festival, 2013-
President of the Historic Sierra Vista Cemetery, Taos, 2013-
Unsung Hero of Taos, 2016
Thom Wheeler's Taos studio/home is a riot of colors and textures, anchored, but not subdued, by warm adobe walls and that lovely light particular to northern New Mexico.
939 Kit Carson Rd.
Taos, New Mexico 87571