"My first toys were cars. The only other person in my family that liked cars was my dad, T.K. VanNortwick. He liked sports cars; I liked hot rods and customs. Dad was a professional artist and art teacher. His main work involved oil paintings of western landscapes. I never painted a lick while he was alive, he died in 1977.
In 1980 I started pin-striping rods and bikes around Roanoke, VA. Then in 1988 I was the victim of a hit and run. The wreck messed up my back and I was in constant pain, so I had to cut back on the pin-stripping. In 1989 I bought a beginners set of oil paints and did a painting. It wasn’t too bad so I did another one, it was better than the first so I figured I was on a roll. In the early 1990’s I went blind in my right eye due to macular degeneration and for several months I didn’t paint. After 5 or 6 months I just didn’t notice it anymore, and I resumed my work.
Most of my paintings are of automotive subjects. My major influence of course is Dad, but I also like Edward Hopper, Kent Bash, Tom Fritz, and others." - Tom VanNortwick