Macaione, Tommy

Thomas (Tommy) 1907-1992, Macaione was born in New London, Connecticut, in 1907 to a father of Greek descent and an Italian mother, Macaione moved to Sicily after his parents separated during his childhood. There, he began studying the old masters with such passion that, as he told New Mexico Magazine in 1980, “I would forget to eat. Still do.” In 1922, he returned to New London. Soon he was studying art more formally with a Yale University graduate student and later at the Art Students League in New York and the Rhode Island School of Design. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and learned barbering on the side, a profession that helped support his art for more than 25 years.

He arrived in Santa Fe in 1952, thus beginning his flamboyant career as an artist and a bit as the town mascot.  Macaione died in 1992. His work can be found in public and private collections across town, including at City Hall, The Shed restaurant, and the offices of The New Mexican. Most recently, the city obtained one of Macaione’s largest works to display in its new offices at 500 Market St. in the Santa Fe Railyard.   

Excerpted from an 11-8-2013 article in The New Mexican by Loren Bienvenue.