Drawn to wild landscapes and animals from the desert floors to above tree lines, TJ recreates stories and scenes where only tracks remain. His passion for crafting micro and macro ecosystems plays out the dramatic and symbiotic alliance between animal and habitat. Each painting reveals careful research and extensive study found only by firsthand experience. Details are exposed and minutiae displayed over months of effort. Bending light and shadow to explore texture and depth, stacking shapes and designing rhythm, paintings seemingly celebrate creation and prepare one for observable presence. TJ delights in sharing the wild spaces with those adorned with feather or fur, horned and pure. He aspires to paint realistically, wild moments and high art authenticated by a grand design.
When not squeezing his 6'10" into an airplane or helicopter to seek wild things, he paints in an 1874 family home "up north" beneath Boyne Mountain resort with retriever Scout at his feet, listening to Rachmaninoff to Rock n' roll, he is frequently distracted by whitetail deer, displaying toms and songbirds. For recreation TJ hunts and fishes in the Pigeon River Forest and Algoma Country of Ontario, downhill skies, kayaks the Sturgeon, and Great Lakes. Rare movable feasts are Broadway musicals, museum master works, and spicy ethnic fare. Ask TJ about skydiving, class V white water, or getting attacked by a snow leopard. The Tucson Desert Museum raptor show was most enrapturing when the predator's wings barely grazed the tall guy's ears. Rescued eleven-day old wolves with eyes just opened were the most recent wild gift.
While at Ball State University and Lansing Community College, T.J. studied wildlife biology, drawing, and design. One of his first paintings, "Watchful Whelp" won first place in California Wild Cat Art 2001, judged by Simon Combes of Kenya. Led by world-class migration master, Michigan apprentices were given a personal tour of King's Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park. The 2004 safari with Combes to Kenya and Soysambu was life-changing.
In 2003, T.J. was featured artist for the Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids Outdoor Expo. In 2004 he won a 1st, 3rd, and People's Choice Award in the 55th annual Wind River Valley National Art Show. He also garnered the Purchase Award with "Torrey Canyon Red-Tail", which now hangs in the permanent collection of the Headwaters Art Center. TJ was honored to be chosen as judge for the 2004 Audubon Wildlife Art Show in Lander, Wyoming.
In 2005, TJ won the Peoples' Choice Award in the 4th annual Susan K. Black Workshop Art Show. Additionally, TJ has participated in the following Art Shows: 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2011 Art of the Animal Kingdom, Bennington, Vermont (the museum purchased two TJ Lick originals which can be seen there today), "Whisper in the Woods" 2005, 2006 Grand Rapids, MI where the DeVos Place mezzanine was an appropriately high above-river platform for his mountain cougar acrylic "Into the Light", Southeastern Wildlife Exposition 2005, 2006, Charleston, SC was a relaxing larger family vacation location (toast to the porch dining room named for their dog.)
TJ enjoyed a one-man show at Founders Trust, a benefit for John Ball Park Zoo there. Small but exotic animal models attended as well. 2010 was the fall he became a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists.
In early 2011 TJ was chosen for the Society of Animal Artists 51st Annual Exhibition (now on U.S. tour) where he was presented with the S.A.A. Leonard J. Meiselman Memorial Award for "Inside the Throne Room". Not yet did he feel the exhilaration of the backward dunk bringing a sports crowd to its feet, but the august company of L.J.M previous artist recipients remains both humbling and exciting. He won "Art of the West" magazine Wildlife Award of Merit at the Scottsdale Salon of Fine Art in 2011 for "Steppin Out" –lynx- and is honored to be part of the 2012 show with "Wild Catalina". In 2011, "Master of the House" was included in the Masterworks in Miniature show at Trailside Gallery in Jackson, WY. TJ's miniature depiction of American bison, "Lamar Valley Vagabonds", is included in the 2012 show. In the summer of 2012, as a member of the 6 artist group- Great Lakes Nature Artists- T.J. along with close friends showed new works in the inaugural "A Natural Selection" at the Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids, Michigan.
It was T.J.'s good fortune to receive Best in Show in the Richeson75 Online Animals, Birds and Wildlife Show in December of 2012.