Tom Stanley was born in Fort Hood, Texas and grew up in Concord, N.C. before graduating with a B.A. in Art from Sacred Heart College in 1972. After serving two years alternative service in lieu of induction, he took on positions in New York City working in the design industry. He then continued his artistic education, receiving an M.A. in applied art history and an M.F.A. in painting from the University of South Carolina in 1980. As a practicing artist, Stanley began explorations into visual art and music as early as 1960 with painted impressions of familiar musical forms. His work relies upon personal memory, an interest in contemporary folk art imagery, and hands-on experience as points of artistic departure. He often works within an established series, and much of his technique is based in common graphic strategies such as mechanical drawing, silhouette, and sgraffito. He then implements these devices to create imagery completely unique to his own vision. Stanley has served on the faculties of Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville, Ark.; Barry University in Miami, Fla.; and Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. In 1985 he returned to the Carolinas to become director of the Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, NC and in 1990 he became the first director of Winthrop University’s Galleries in Rock Hill, SC. In addition to continuing his fine art practice, Stanley held a position as chair of the Department of Fine Arts at Winthrop University from 2007-2017. In recent years, Tom Stanley’s artwork has been exhibited at Barbara Archer Gallery in Atlanta, Ga., the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, N.C., Gallery twenty-four in Berlin, and Musée de la Halle Saint Pierre in Paris. In 2004, his "Floating" series was exhibited at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts before traveling to the South Carolina State Museum's Triennial Exhibition in 2005. In 2017, The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at The College of Charleston hosted the mid-career retrospective for the artist, Tom Stanley, Scratching the Surface. In 2018, he served as an artist in residency at the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC, and he is currently participating in an eight month residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, NC where he also serves as a visiting curator.