When MetLife started plans for their new retail headquarters in Charlotte NC, they committed themselves to creating an "open" and "happy" place to work. This is no small challenge, when you are designing two, ten-story buildings, that will be occupied by hundreds of employees. But, it helps when you have chosen to place the art of Tom Everhart at the center of your project. The art makes it into the single, design theme that carries throughout all 285,000 square feet.
Around every corner, down every hall, in every open space, attendees at MetLife's ribbon cutting event were greeted by grand scale representations of Everhart's paintings. This makes it the largest installation of Everhart's artwork, to date.
Being extremely proud of their new hub filled with Everhart's artwork, MetLife flew in Tom and Jennifer as their guests of honor. There, they were joined by Met's own executive team, local dignitaries, state officials, and even Governor Pat McCrory. Who later in the day made a personal point to seek Tom out, to express how impressed he was with his art.
After a full day filled with speeches, fine dining, and grand tours through the buildings, Everhart surprised everyone with one last impromptu addition to their collection. He slipped away from the crowd into an open conference room and created a full, wall size drawing onto their floor-to-ceiling dry-ink, marker wall. This left our friends at Met life with one more great work of art, and one hell of a conundrum.
TOM EVERHART was born on May 21, 1952 in Washington, D.C. He began his under graduate 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 style.
A few years later, while still painting full-time on his previous body of work in his studio, Everhart began drawing special projects for Schulz and United Media, 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 Charles Schulz's comic strip, Peanuts, as 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 images in Everhart's work are in some respect derived from Schulz's Peanuts comic strip.
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, 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 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 S2 Art editions and 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.
An agreement, with Tom Everhart, United Media Feature Syndicate and Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, was signed, in 1997, to grant to third parties licenses with respect to the Schulz inspired paintings to produce up-scale museum type products, and continues in effect to present, with Iconix replacing United Media in 2010.
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.
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 gift 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.
In 2004 Everhart showed a group of nine large scaled paintings titled Dots Dogs Drips with the S2 Art Gallery in Chicago that then traveled to Osaka and Tokyo in 2005.
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.
Tom Everhart continues to lecture around the world on the artwork of Charles M Schulz and to communicate the unique collaborative relationship they shared, as a cartoonist and a painter. To this he has dedicated his life.
After living in San Francisco, Paris, New York, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and London, in 1997 Tom Everhart moved to Venice California where he now lives with Jennifer, his wife and director of their studio.
Today, Everhart is the only fine artist educated by Schulz and legally authorized by both Charles Schulz and Iconix to use subject matter from Schulz's Peanuts strip to create fine art.