TJ Cunningham

15th Annual ARC Salon (2020-2021)

TJ Cunningham

United States

I spent my first decade of life in Cambridge, Vermont, which happened to be one of Aldro Hibbard and Emile Gruppe’s favorite places to paint. Both of them died about ten years before my birth, but the same landscape that inspired them inspired me. The small farms, wooded hills, and shallow streams were bursting with inspiration. It was the perfect place to awaken a desire to create.

I also grew up seeing the artwork of my family members William Trost Richards, Francis Davis Millet, Kathleen McEnery, and most importantly, my grandfather Michael Cunningham. Both my great-grandmother Kathleen and my grandfather Michael passed away seventeen years before I was born. Still, through their paintings, they showed me that a career as an artist was within reach. 

I studied art with oil painter and illustrator Brian Jekel and other excellent teachers at Pensacola Christian College (PCC). The art classes at PCC focused on representational painting rather than modern art or abstract art. During my four years there, I learned a process for creating a painting that I still use today. Immediately after graduating in 2010, I began my career as a professional artist.

In 2014 Southwest Art recognized me as an emerging artist in their “21 under 31” article. Since then, my landscape paintings have won awards from the PleinAir Salon, the Portrait Society of America, the Art Renewal Center, and the Oil Painters of America.

Life is more than art, though, and one great benefit of this vocation is the time that I have to enjoy with my family. My wife, Julie, and I share in the joy of three beautiful children. I sign all my paintings with a small PTL (Praise The Lord) under my name. Life is a gift. One I receive with tremendous gratitude.

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 15th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.