New Directions in 2021
If 2020 taught us anything, it made us believe more firmly in the things we have faith in. For me, that was not difficult and by the time October rolled around, Nathan had surprised us with a “still painting with conviction” birthday video and I hope the quality of my work was on par or better than any other year. I hope you and your families weathered the storm of last year as well as anyone could, and are prepared for the road ahead, for now it is time to look to see what is upon us for the future.
2021 will be for me, just another newer year with a whole lot of much older beginnings: beginnings that never got started until now. This photo for example, is one of me on the Southeasternmost mountain in West Virginia, staring in the direction of McDowell County, WV, the place of my birth and one that is now less than one fifteenth the population it was in 1958. That photo was taken in 2015, before my third heart attack, and other things in the way between now and then, that prevented me from going down this artistic pathway until now.
I will paint the places that those that fled coal country settled into – the places far from here that many of America’s greatest painters have attempted to emulate on canvas. I will also be painting those hidden parts of McDowell County that were always left behind, until now, for no matter how many times it has been written about, photographed, and documented, there are far more than at a lowest minimum, 150,000 stories here, and not half have been told. With a little luck, the two narratives I will be painting this year will converge, in a place like Philadelphia. Or maybe Brooklyn.
Painting with conviction for more than 40 years.
“Your paintings are dark like Andrew’s . . .but your palette is light like Jamie’s."
- Barbara Moore, Barbara Moore Fine Art, Chadds Ford, PA
To say McDowell County, WV native Tom Acosta is an award-winning artist of pictures & murals would be inadequate. The relationships he forms with folks who hire him & the perfection he demands of himself & his finished pieces make it evident his artistic endeavors are much more than a way to make a living. Acosta paints with purpose, depicting contemporary social realities & everyday activities of ordinary people. Although Tom is a realist, his paintings often contain an allegorical meaning.
Aside from a work in the permanent collection at The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, OH, Tom has exhibited at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV, Tamarack in Beckley, WV & the Gertrude Smith House in Mount Airy, NC. Currently he is represented at Barbara Moore Fine Art in Chadds Ford, PA, Virtu Studio and Gallery at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV, and The Lost Pearl Art Gallery in Tazewell, VA.
He is featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary Hollow. Magazines including Art Galleries & Artists of the South, Railfan, The State Journal, and Wonderful West Virginia have all featured Acosta, along with the books Moving To A Small Town & Legends of McDowell County.
Although he is living in and restoring a seventeen-room coal baron’s mansion built in 1909, he has a bed in his studio in the basement. Often he starts painting at dark and works through the night. “When I get tired, I stop and sleep for a while,” he said. “Then, I’ll get up and go right back to work.”