| Rogoway Turquoise Tortoise Gallery | Tubac AZ

“Being an artist to me means being able to do what I love each day and to enjoy a lifestyle of creativity..” ~Thomas A. Tankersley


Thomas is a self-taught artist and metal worker. In 1972 he began his career in iron work and soon after opened his own company in Placerville, California.  His skills with metal developed rapidly and his fabricating business grew to be one of the largest in El Dorado County.  After 21 years in the industry, Tom longed for something new and creative to fill his working days.  Applying his metal skills with his natural artistic talents, he began creating steel sculptures.  His first two pieces, a covered wagon and a stagecoach sold immediately to a large corporation in San Francisco.  He was hooked on art and hasn’t stopped creating since.

In 1994 he entered his first art show and won first place for one of his famous stage coaches. His specialty is south western art, although he has a wide range of artistic styles including wildlife and human form, nautical and large abstract sculptures.

Thomas’ work is hand formed in steel. The feathers of an eagle are cut out individually and then hand pounded to create the look of real feathers.  The steel leather of a stage coach is heated and pounded until it really looks like leather, people have to touch it before they realize it is steel.  Each sculpture is approached individually making his work unique.  Tom enjoys creating rustic looking pieces with character, especially those that tell a story like his stagecoach in the sand.  Extensive research and meditation go into each piece he makes.

Tom also sculpts with Fresco Sculpting Clay, a medium he created to use in place of bronze. He mixes the clay and applies it over a steel armature building up layers until he has reached the desired effect. Then he does the final step of the patina finish. This technique looks similar to bronze but is much less expensive and also stays true to his one-of-a-kind approach to his work.

After living for many years in Northern California, Thomas and his wife Barbara relocated to Southern Arizona near the Tubac art colony in July 2017. Being a part of the regions thriving art community has his imagination stirring, creating new themes for his work incorporating the area’s unique beauty.


Are you interested in purchasing Thomas Tankersley’s work? Please contact Rogoway Turquoise Tortoise Gallery for more information.