Thomas Robert Seawell

Thomas Robert SeawellThomas Robert Seawell passed away August 28, 2015, in his home in Sterling, NY.
He was born March 17, 1936, in Baltimore, MD to Robert James Seawell and Cynthia Edith Bass. He spent his childhood in Columbia, SC, and moved to St Louis in 1948. He received his art education at Washington University St Louis and Texas Christian University. He taught for two years at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR. In 1963 he was hired by SUNY Oswego to establish a fine art printmaking program for the art department. He taught there until his retirement in 1992. During his tenure at Oswego, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, the SUNY system’s highest form of recognition for teaching. In 1992 he moved to Commerce, TX where his wife, Barbara Frey, teaches ceramics at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Thereafter, they spent the academic year in Texas and summers in Sterling, NY. From 1992 through spring 2014, he taught screen printing and beginning printmaking classes as an adjunct instructor at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Thomas Seawell is particularly well known for his screen prints and collagraphs and has been recognized as one of the earliest practitioners of the collagraph medium. His work is defined by a variety of noteworthy series including Family Album, States and Provinces, The Streets, Empty Centers, Variations on Themes of Jacques Callot, the Art Doors project, and a series of images of stock exchanges and trading floors commissioned by Geldermann, Inc. of Chicago.
Thomas Seawell’s work can be found in many public, private, and corporate art collections. His work is archived in the Artist Printmaker Research Collection at The Museum of Texas Tech University.
During his long career as an artist and teacher, Thomas Seawell demonstrated an unwavering passion for art and love for teaching. He has touched many lives through the art he has created and has inspired numerous students in their quest to become artists and teachers of art. He will be remembered for his zest for life, his devotion to art, his love of music and travel, his wide repertoire of great stories, and his sense of humor and wit.
Thomas Seawell is survived by his wife, Barbara Louise Frey of Commerce, TX and their son, Jay Turner Frey Seawell of Washington, DC. He is survived by three sons from his previous marriage to Eva Jo Bradford: James Bradford Seawell of Cambridge, MA; Lee Thomas Seawell of Syracuse, NY; and Gustin Charles Seawell of St Louis, MO. He is also survived by his dear sister, Nancy Jo Brown of Longmont, CO, and nieces Cindy Poinsett, Cara Frihauf, Jana Schulder, and nephew David Brown.
The Frey-Seawell family wishes to thank Hospice of the Finger Lakes for their devoted care of Thom. The Sugar & Scanlon Funeral Home of Oswego, NY has care of the arrangements. There will not be a funeral. A memorial will be scheduled for a future date. Share condolences at www.sugarscanlonfuneralhome.

16 thoughts on “Thomas Robert Seawell

  1. Lee and Tim,
    My thoughts surround you as you say good-bye. Lee, your father sounds like he was an amazing man. We are blessed to have had his talents and you are blessed to have been loved by him.

  2. Dear Family,
    If there is one thing I know is that Thomas loved and laughed a lot. This brings great memories and joy to many hearts and minds during this time. Barbara and Jay, our hearts are heavy for your loss, but also joyful for the life that we have been able to share with Thom. May you all be blessed with peace. I know Thom is walking through the doors that he once painted with stories in hand.

    We love you!

  3. My deepest sympathies to the Sewall family. I was a student of his at SUNYCO back in the 90s. He was a great man, a great teacher and a wonderful artist. Very sad to see him go. This world will not be the same without him. He was just a wonderful guy.

  4. Thom,
    You introduced me to the world. Exposing me to the arts: written, visual, and instrumental. I owe a lot that I have become to you. Remembering that you took me and others under your wing to help you “pull colors” onto your prints even though technically you were color blind. As each print was placed onto its registration marks you would say OK? And I would say yup! When the series was finished you would sign and stamp it with your personal impression….
    OK OK
    OK OK OK
    OK OK OK OK….

  5. R.I.P. Thomas Seawell. My deepest sympathies go to his wife, Barbara Frey, and his sons. It is a profound loss to the world of printmaking and the many lives he touched.

    Words cannot express how much this man meant to me. As a mentor he changed the course of my life. I’m not sure I’d be where I am as an artist and person without him.

    Seawell did not coddle, hold hands, or walk on eggshells. What he said was not always “nice”, but he was honest to the core. I respected and learned from that honesty. He taught by example; he was one of the most prolific and interesting artists I have had the privilege to know. He was also one of the funniest men on the planet, often sarcastic, sometimes biting, and at times just plain silly.

    I loved visiting him in his studio in upstate NY, a place he always came back to work in the summer. Once he had a phone call that took him away and left me in his studio. He came back and apologized for being so long. I told him I was having a wonderful visit conversing with and studying the works in his studio. He liked that.

    I learned of other artists, musicians, writers, travels, social issues, and how you used these influences in your work.

    I can’t find the words, except …you are missed and loved.

  6. My memories of Thom will always be marked by laughter and amazement. He was one of the funniest men I’ve known, as well as a gifted teacher and talented artist. My heart goes out to Barbara and their son, Jay, along with his older sons, James, Lee and Gustin; all of whom he was so proud. I will miss that twinkle in his eyes he would get right before he started to tell one of his stories.

  7. I remember good times with Thom in St Louis, camping in Ontario, a poker night with Thom and friends and being snowed in in Oswego. He introduced me to classical music and fine art and was always a joy to be around.

  8. Dearest Barbara, Lee, Tim, Gustin, Jay, Brad, and Veronica.

    What a loss. We lost an artist that will never be copied, As friends, we lost a Father figure that no one can replace.
    We lost a man that was true to himself and taught us to be the same. ‘Stay true to YOU”.
    That being said, we learned how to be true to ourselves, We were guided to let that lion inside of us out and let it roar 🙂
    He made us think, and think hard.
    Thom Seawell made me think, and contributed to me being the person I am today. I hope you all feel the same.
    Melanie Ziel
    (also a big loser at his penny poker table…do we still owe????)

  9. Thom and Eva Jo introduced me to Wendell, his high school friend, and my future husband. He gave. me a wonderful gift and we had some good times together before our lives went in different directions. Thom was fun to be around and will be remembered always.

  10. Brad, Lee and Gustin I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. He and your Mother were two of the most important people in my life. With out them I would not have had the joy and love of my life. I know you miss them both as I miss Wendell.

  11. I knew Thom from a handful of times when requesting he donate something to our annual Meals on Wheels Silent Auction as well as a few chats at the grocery store. I found him to be kind, generous, with twinkly eyes. By reading all the comments left by other friends who knew Thom much better than I, I can now, sadly, appreciate that I missed a great opportunity to know Thom better. But I believe we leave behind an essence and I will add Thom to the list of persons I have a quiet chat in the park every morning when I take my dog to run. Thinking of you, Barbara.

  12. To Lee, Tim, Barb and the whole Seawell Family,

    Your father was a remarkable man who has inspired and deeply touched the lives of others; the tributes to him speak of his impact, that will always live on. Lee, I remember going to Canales with your Dad and friends, and he was amazing. The tribute from Treelee MacAnn above to your Dad reminds me so much of you – He was the funniest man on the planet … that whole phrase speaks to you. I’m sure your father couldn’t be more proud of you and the family he raised. Thank God for those who teach, inspire, raise and instill their blessings on their family and the world. This will always pass on.

    Love always,
    Anne and Jack

  13. I am profoundly sorry to the family for the loss of a wonderful, talented man. Thom was my mentor at Oswego when I took a printmaking class with him & I was hooked with his enthusiasm. My only regret was that he took a sabbatical my Jr. year so I missed out on 2 semesters having him as my teacher. He gave me one of his prints when I graduated & I have it proudly displayed wherever I have lived.

  14. I was a student of Tom’s and Barbara’s around 2012. Tom is the reason I have a darkroom and passion for screen printing. He was a great teacher! I will always remember him for his humor and care for his students and as the one who gave me screen printing which I practice to this day. I will miss him!

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