About Tom Mielko
Acknowledged globally as a master artist of visual storytelling, Tom Mielko is best known for his finely honed ability to communicate with the viewer in a personal, intimate way. His passion for living and love for his craft radiate from every brushstroke of his work.
Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Tom was gifted with a natural talent for art. He drew his first sketches at the age of six and encouraged by his parents, went on to study at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School and the prestigious Art Institute of Boston, where he eventually taught. Even at a young age, Tom had a unique eye for bringing out subtlety as he captured a moment or the poetry in a play of light.
Committed to making painting his full time livelihood, Mielko forged ahead with his own gallery in 1970. Through his friend and patron Anthony Athanas, Tom established the Sextant Gallery within Athanas’s renowned restaurant in Boston Harbor.
During visits with his former teacher and mentor, Phil Hicken on Nantucket Island, Tom enjoyed painting the serene beaches, grassy dunes, rose drenched gardens, and cranberry bogs. He soon felt the need to seek a refuge from the urban life of Boston and retreat permanently to the unspoiled island.
Once settled on Nantucket, Mielko went to work for The Chelko Gallery where he and owner, Paul Chelko, became fast friends and business partners. One year later the gallery’s name was changed to The Chelko-Mielko Gallery. When Chelko made a move to Atlanta to pursue abstract art, Tom stayed on in Nantucket. He established The Mielko Gallery, in a unique, Nantucket shanty, where fishermen once stored their nets. Mielko’s highly successful gallery continued for 35 years and became a historic Nantucket landmark, the oldest gallery on South Wharf.
Mielko’s quintessential Nantucket beach scenes established his signature style, very quickly winning the artist awards and collectors from every part of the world. His more prominent collectors include publisher and art collector, Malcolm Forbes; Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton; actress Jane Seymour, singer songwriter, Donna Summer and former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch. His work has been included in the collections of the Smithsonian and the Santa Barbara Historical Museums.
In 1979, lured by the year round warmth of southern California, Tom began spending his winters in the picturesque town of Santa Barbara. Like Nantucket, Santa Barbara is an internationally renowned artist community and romantic destination. Mielko loved the juxtaposition of the two coasts and began to develop a new dimension to his work, illustrating both reality and imagination. His image, Dianna’s Fantasy, expresses this most distinctively. With this work, Mielko formed a composition of two entirely different locations, California’s San Luis Obispo and Nantucket’s Jetty Beach. This bicoastal lifestyle added a dynamic perspective and uniquely seasoned dimension to his style.
It was in Santa Barbara that Mielko fell in love with and married the true love of his life, Eileen Ingram. She was to become his greatest muse and inspired him onto new creative heights. Eileen became his model, business partner, and gallery co-owner and with her inspiration Tom established his signature style, Romantic Realism.
In 2004, Eileen wrote a loving tribute to her husband, Tom Mielko, An Artist’s Journey, still a best seller today. The book beautifully chronicles Tom’s classic paintings in full color, along with his remembrances about each work.
In 2007, Tom and Eileen decided to make Santa Barbara their full time residence and build their dream home. In his studio overlooking the Pacific, Tom’s work now captures views of the western coastline, historic California landmarks and private estates. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and he and his work have been the subject of featured magazine and newspaper articles. Tom continues to receive private and commercial commissions to which he brings a unique perspective. Both Eileen and Tom are very involved in their community, supporting local non-profits. Some of the many organizations they are involved with on the West Coast are the historic Lobero Theater, Lotusland, Girls Incorporated, Heal the Ocean and City Hearts of Los Angeles. On the East Coast, the list includes, Nantucket Boys & Girls Club, Nantucket Cottage Hospital and the AIDS Research Foundation.
In 2016 Tom partnered with poet Erin Graffy to produce his second book, Animalia a collection of animal portraits and poetry. The book was received with critical acclaim, wining two prestigious awards.
Tom is a member of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society and The California Arts Club. He is a former trustee of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum and has served on the board of The Santa Barbara Arts Fund.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Tom Mielko brings the glorious images of the sea to life in his original paintings, serigraphs, digital archive productions and graphics. The magic of nature and romance which he captures in his paintings set him apart as a one of a kind….
An American Romantic Painter.