Thomas Kirk Melvin was born in New York City in 1952 and lived in Tokyo, Japan, from 1961 to 1964. He received a BA degree in Sculpture and Performance Art from Bennington College in Vermont in 1975. Except for a short stint as a "gandy dancer" for the Rocky Mountain East Division of the Burlington Northern Railroad, he employed himself as a sign painter and muralist before settling with his wife Nancy in Chicago. There, he found work painting theatrical scenery and executing the giant architectural illusions of his former graphic arts teacher, Richard Haas. Soon thereafter, the Thomas Melvin Painting Studio was established. The 3,000 square foot studio is a short walk from the bungalow his family calls home.
Nancy Melvin does Lazure color glaze work for the studio in private homes and public spaces like the Conference Room at Angelic Organics, above their offices in the repurposed Corn Crib. She lends her critical eye to the design and sketch stage. As a textile artist, she grows her own dyes for yarn and silk and works within the artisan collective of Union Handmade at 3860 N. Lincoln Ave. She has been a Waldorf School teacher for 21 years and now tutors privately in handwork, painting and singing. She has been muse to the studio for 40 years.
May Melvin, daughter of Thomas and Nancy Melvin, grew up in Chicago and learned the family biz along the way. She has been working on and off with her parents as soon as she could hold a brush and or needle. Joining the studio for many of the large scale exterior murals, she is the first woman in the state of Illinois to get her scaffold license while painting the 18 story, three sided "Homage to Chicago Architecture" building. Having worked in painting restoration, she brings this skill to the studio as well. She does freelance fine art work with numerous small biz artists in Chicago while maintaing a small urban farm and studying emergency medicine.
Many many artists throughout the many years have assisted in the completion of the studio's work. I wish to thank them all.
Of special note and long-term friendship:
Cameron Pfiffner's interest in art was inspired by his father, E. John Pfiffner, jazz pianist and staff artist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. In 1979-80 he travelled to Italy to study life drawing and painting at the Academia de Belle Arti in Rome. He later graduated from Loyola University with a bachelor's degree in theatre. In 1997-98 he worked as a scientific illustrator for Philip Hershkovitz, Curator Emeritus of Mammals at the Field Museum of Natural History. He also sculpted figurative reliefs for Weiden-Miller Co., a commercial die manufacturer.
Gary Borremans was born in Wausau, Wisconsin, in 1954. He graduated with a BFA from the Memphis Academy of Fine Arts in 1977. He has shown his work in New Orleans, Chicago, and Berlin, and resides and works in Chicago.
Craig Thomas, a resident of Cape Girardeau, was the recipient of the Otto F. Dingeldein award in 2004. He has worked on public commercial and residential murals, as well as having group and individual exhibitions in the Midwest and Europe. He has been a featured artist and competing artist at street competitions. He is also a member of the River Heritage Mural Association.