After moving to San Diego from Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the summer of 2001, Thomas C. Tirado established himself quickly in the artist community by joining and displaying his work at the San Diego Art Institute (SDAI), where he was a member for at over ten years. For years he was a juried artist of the Shelter Island Art Association, and he has been successful in being juried into the Fine Arts Exhibition of the SD Fair many times over the years In addition, he has had five one-man shows in the Hillcrest and Pacific Beach areas and has distinguished himself on numerous occasions by having received the title “Outstanding Visual Artist of the Region” four times, most recently in 2012) from the SDAI; winning an award in the SD Art of Pride Show in 2007 and again in 2009; being juried into the La Jolla Art Association Show in 2007; and showing his art during street fairs and other community events. In addition, Tirado exhibited his work in June, 2009 at the Bard Hall Gallery of the Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego. Showing different paintings in three venues in March of 2010, he was awarded second place for his “Red Weave Triptych” by the San Diego Art Department. Currently associated with Townley Gallery in Laguna Beach for two years, in December of 2011 Tirado was showing in three other venues at the same time: Ramona Art Guild show at the Poway center for the Performing Art and the San Carlos Library, San Diego, in December, 2011, and a juried painting at the SDAI in December, 2011 and January, 2012. Three paintings have been juried into the SDAI in 2012, and his work entitled Maguey #3 won third place in the 2012 Fine Arts Exhibition at the San Diego Fair in Del Mar. In 2015 the SD Fair juried into its exhibition his work entitled “My Pantheon,” a large diptych capturing the interior of the Pantheon in Rome. In July and August seven of his paintings were on exhibit at Bard Hall Gallery. In 2016 and 2017 four of Tirado’s paintings were juried into several exhibitions at La Jolla Art Association, where is become a member in 2017.
Having painted since his youth, only since his retirement as a university professor has Tirado been able to dedicate himself full-time to being an artist. Soon after arriving in San Diego he began taking continuing education adult art classes from several instructors including Perrietta Hester, recognized as one of the best teachers in the San Diego/La Jolla area. Currently, he is continuing his class work with Patrick Mason.
Although Tirado likes to think of himself as oil painter, his work also includes a series of abstract paintings, nature scenes, and several nudes painted in bold acrylic colors. While he acknowledges that he is “evolving as an artist by learning to paint in this new medium,” he admits that he likes to “use acrylic paint as if it were oil.” This is obvious to anyone who looks at his “Red Nude” on a red background. “Using oil means that I spend a lot of time waiting for paint to dry. I prefer not to use any accelerants.” He goes on to say, “from my initial sketch to the final touches, I like to finish a picture in a few weeks, although it is common to take several months for his large paintings. I know I am having problems with a picture when it takes me more than two months to finish.”
“I am a minimalist in my everyday life; I prefer to walk through a room that is open and free of clutter; and I hold true to the same philosophy in my painting. The fewer objects the better."