Thomas Paquette has worked as a full-time painter since receiving his MFA degree in Painting in 1988. Widely collected, his works comprised more than sixty solo exhibitions in museums and prominent galleries in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Washington, DC, and smaller cities around the country.
Raised in Minneapolis, Paquette dropped out of college art studies midway through his first year, intent on experiencing firsthand the wider world in an off-the-beaten-path way. On and off for the next six years, he explored North America by hitchhiking and hopping freight trains that carried him many thousands of miles back and forth to the edges of the continent and as far away as Alaska, where the rails and roads end.
Returning at least temporarily to more standard activities, Paquette graduated summa cum laude with a BFA degree in Painting from Bemidji State University in 1985, and earned an MFA on a full fellowship from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville in 1988. He was then awarded a three-year residency-fellowship in Miami Beach through the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA). Among other places, he was an artist-in-residence at Acadia, Yosemite, and Rocky Mountain national parks, Aegean Arts and Cultural Exchange (Greece), American Academy in Rome.
A solo traveling exhibition of his paintings, America’s River Re-Explored: Paintings of the Mississippi from Source to Gulf, was exhibited at three museums along the Mississippi River in 2018-2019: Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Watermark Art Center, and Dubuque Museum of Art.
In 2014-2015, another solo exhibition, On Nature’s Terms, traveled to Wildling Art Museum (CA), St. Bonaventure Quick Center for the Arts (NY), and Evansville Museum (IN). Other one-museum exhibitions include Erie Art Museum, Georgia Museum of Art, The Rockwell Museum, and Westmoreland Museum of American Art.
Forty-one of his paintings have been selected for display at twenty U.S. embassies on five continents, including in the cities of Athens, Brussels (NATO permanent collection), Moscow, Ottawa, Rome, Santiago, St. Petersburg, Taipei, and Vienna. He has given talks at museums and universities in the U.S., Greece, Wales, and England.
Among several commissions completed for public and private entities, the largest were for the state of Minnesota (7 feet by 32 feet in length, and another 11 feet long), the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (a cycle of four works measuring 7 feet by 6 feet each) and a recent triptych measuring 5 feet by 10 feet for an unnamed philanthropy.
His works are included in numerous private, corporate, museum and state collections, and have been featured in numerous publications.
Paquette lives on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest outside Warren, Pennsylvania.