Tom Everhart

Today, Everhart is the only fine artist educated directly by Schulz and he continues to use the visual subject matter from Schulz’s distinctive visual language to create his art. The unique collaborative relationship they shared, as a cartoonist and a painter, has been the designing foundation in how he sees the living world.

“I never made it past that first blown up drawing of his strip. I sat in front of it for hours. I don’t even remember leaving it.”  — Tom Everhart

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Tom Everhart – Biography

Tom Everhart was born on May 21, 1952 in Washington, D.C. He began his undergraduate studies at the Yale University of Art and Architecture in 1970. In 1972 he participated in an independent study program under Earl Hoffman at St. Mary’s College. He returned to the Yale School of Art and Architecture in 1974 where he completed his graduate work in 1976, followed by post-graduate studies at the Musee de l’Orangerie, in Paris. He taught Life Drawing and Painting, briefly from 1979 to 1980, at Antioch College.

In 1980, Tom Everhart was introduced to cartoonist Charles M. Schulz at Schulz’s studios in Santa Rosa, California. A few weeks prior to their meeting, Everhart, having absolutely no education in cartooning, found himself involved in a freelance project that required him to draw and present Peanuts renderings to Schulz’s studios. Preparing as he would the drawings and studies for his large-scale skeleton / nature related paintings; he blew up some of the cartoonist’s strips on a twenty-five foot wall in his studio which eliminated the perimeter lines of the cartoon box, leaving only the marks of the cartoonist. Schulz’s painterly pen stroke, now larger than life, translated into painterly brush strokes and was now a language that overwhelmingly connected to Everhart’s own form of expression and communication. Completely impressed with Schulz’s line, he was able to reproduce the line art almost exactly, which in turn impressed Schulz at their meeting. It was directly at this time that Everhart confirmed his obsession with Schulz’s line art style and their ongoing relationship of friendship and education of his line construction.

A few years later, while still painting full-time on his previous body of work in his East Village studio, Everhart began drawing special projects for Schulz both in New York and Tokyo. These authentic Schulz-style drawings included covers and interiors of magazines, art for the White House, and the majority of the Met Life campaign. When Everhart was not painting, he was now considered to be the only fine artist authorized and educated by Schulz to draw the actual Schulz line.

The paintings using the influence of Charles Schulz’s comic strip, Peanuts, as visual subject matter began and replaced the skeleton and nature related paintings in 1988. The inspiration came to Everhart in Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was undergoing several operations for stage 4 colon / liver cancer in the summer of 1988. Everhart recalls lying in a hospital bed surrounded by enough flowers to open a florist shop, piles of art books and a stack of Peanuts comic strips sent to him by Schulz. The light streaming in from the window almost projected the new images of his future Schulz inspired paintings on the wall. All the imagery in Everhart’s work, are in some respect derived from Schulz’s design of pictorial space.

In January 1990 Everhart’s Schulz related work went on to show at the Louvre in Paris and subsequently in Los Angeles at the L.A. County Museum of Natural History. Montreal at the Museum of Fine Arts, Tokyo, Japan at the Suntory Museum of Art, Osaka, Rome, Venice, Milan, Minneapolis, Baltimore, New York, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and in Santa Rosa California at the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

In 1991, Charles Schulz and United Media drafted a legal agreement to allow Tom Everhart to use visual subject matter from Schulz’s Peanuts strip in his art for “the term of his life”.

In 1992, Pigpen’s Dirtballs a 72” x 128” painting was filmed with the artist in progress for the CBS special “The Fabulous Funnies”. A series of four lithographs were published in 1996 and a series of four more lithographs entitled, To Every Dog There Is A Season followed in 1997. Over the next ten years Tom Everhart would create an astonishing body of lithography work consisting of over seventy-four lithographs.

In 1997, Snoopy, Not Your Average Dog, published by Harper Collins, featured an essay and reproductions of Tom Everhart’s Schulz inspired paintings.

In 2000, his first solo museum show was launched at the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. The Exhibition traveled to five other locations in Japan until the year 2002.

Artist Tom Everheart in his studio

CBS, in a Charles M. Schulz tribute, designed an entire sound stage, comprised solely of Everhart’s paintings, that were used with host Whoopi Goldberg, throughout the hour long special, in May of 2000.

After Charles Schulz passed away in February of 2000 it left Everhart with a deep sense of loss as well as an even stronger desire to communicate the incredible influence bestowed on him by Schulz.

Thus, in 2000 Everhart discovered French Polynesia, a small group of islands in the center of the Pacific Ocean. The ongoing trips between French Polynesia and Venice California have had a significant effect on the paintings most easily observed in the luminous color palette. But, most importantly, it offered him a new way of seeing the work that he was dedicated to continuing.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum opened in August 2002 and the following year November 14th 2003 Everhart had the honor of presenting his works in a solo exhibition titled Under The Influence. He would also be included in the Museum’s 2011, Pop’d From The Panel exhibition along with Warhol and Lichtenstein.

“Schulz’s painterly pen stroke translated into painterly brush strokes and was now a language that overwhelmingly connected to Everhart’s own form of expression and communication.”

For the next two years Everhart worked to produce two large bodies of works on paper, canvas, and wood. The first exhibition titled Cracking Up consisted of seventy-five artworks. The following exhibition Boom Shaka Laka Laka: The Lagoon Paintings was made up of three large scale paintings and one hundred fourteen works on paper ranging in sizes for 10” x 12” to 40” x 60”. Both bodies of work were shown at the Jack Gallery in Las Vegas.

In 2011 he exhibited 97 works, titled Crashing The Party a solo exhibition at the AFA Gallery in New York. Followed in 2013 with another solo exhibit with AFA Gallery titled Rolling With The Homies consisting of 55 works on paper and canvas.

Beginning in 2012, together with Limelight Publishing, Everhart started a print program. They have produced over 80 mixed media screenprints and continue to produce new works until today. A catalog résumé titled Tom Everhart Recent Print Works was release in 2017.

On June 17, 2013 NBC Today show presented a six minute feature on Everhart’s work and career interviewed by Jamie Gangel and produced by Yael Federbush and Jamie Gangel.

In March of 2014 the first of two Met Life Global Technology Campus opened in Charlotte North Carolina and the following year in Raleigh. Met Life commissioned over 40 works from Tom Everhart to be photographically enlarged to cover their walls in a brilliant display thought out both campus.

In his lifetime Tom has given countless lectures on the art of Charles Schulz and in the Spring 2014 in an article for Artful Living, writer Alyssa Ford does an impressive job of puzzling together Tom’s lectures in her article titled Master Class.

I’ve Got Ants In My Pants (and I Need To Dance) was a body of 57 works on MDF Board, Paper, and Canvas, along with new mixed media print works. The exhibition opened November 2015 at the AFA Gallery SoHo. Tom is quoted as saying “It is an exhibition of camouflaged visual confessions of the inspirational motivations that push the restless necessity for creative thinking.”

In February of 2016 a retrospective of black and white work titled RAW consisting of 30 works on canvas, wood and paper from 1998-2016 was shown at the Mouche Gallery in Beverly Hills. A catalog titled RAW with an essay by Everhart, Pages from the Coloring Book was published by limelight publishing for this exhibit.

The painting Surfing with Franz and Willem from RAW, was actually the first work for the next new body of work Waves of Influence. Each work in the Waves of Influence is meant to reference a particular influence from Tom’s life experiences, that mixed with Schulz’s unique influence, articulates the conditions and reasons for the visual constructions of the last twenty-nine years of work.

The Waves of Influence also defines the bubble when working in his studios.
Through this bubble Tom sees and feels the world.
In November 2017 Waves and Bubble Baths opened at the Mouche Gallery.

The last work produced for the exhibition Waves and Bubble Baths titled Sleeping Beauty references a beautiful nation asleep at the wheel, It is actually the first work for the next new body of work Sleeping Beauties.

After living in San Francisco, Paris, New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and London, in 1997 Tom Everhart moved to Venice California. He and his wife Jennifer now split their time between California and French Polynesia.


JANUARY 6, 2020

Tom Everhart’s signature style is a lively and profound hybrid of pop and expressionist visual elements, infused with an art historical perspective and a cheeky sense of humor. As a contemporary of Warhol, Haring, Scharf and Basquiat during formative New York City years, Everhart’s work in that zeitgeist was nevertheless more than just bright and cartoonish.

read the entire interview