Thomas Foster Hermansader was born in 1950 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Dorothy Hermansader, nee Kleppinger, and Allen Foster Hermansader. Tom's father was a professional artist who studied at the Miami Art School and was a private pupil of Professor Henry Salem Hubbell who was a portrait painter and a pupil of James McNeil Whistler. Tom's dad had a wide range of artistic skills, however he specialized in portrait painting and art restoration. At about 3 years of age, Tom would sit and watch him draw and paint. He knew that someday he would be an artist just like his dad!
Tom comes from a family of professional artists. In addition to his father, Allen F. Hermansader, their cousin, John B. Hermansader, was an Art Director for an advertising agency in New York City and an art restorer; John's daughter, Marcy Hermansader, is a professional artist working and residing in Vermont; and Eleanor N. Murray, nee Hermansader, was an art teacher in Chicago.
With his mother's and father's influence, guidance, and encouragement, Tom took art classes at the Baum School of Art in Allentown and enrolled in as many art classes as possible at South Mountain Junior High School and Louis E. Dieruff High School, both in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school, Tom enrolled in evening classes at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art School and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, both in Philadelphia. In 1969, Tom was accepted to Kutztown University and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor's Degree in Art Education. While student teaching at William Allen High School in Allentown, Tom was placed under the tutelage of artist and art teacher, Jim Musselman, a watercolorist whom he greatly admires. In 1978, while teaching art at Columbia Jr. - Sr. High School in Columbia, Pennsylvania, Tom earned his Master's Degree in Art Education.
In 1981, Tom produced his first limited edition print entitled "Wright's Mansion," which was a huge success. Tom left teaching in 1988 and since then has produced 160 limited edition and open edition prints. He has had several one-man shows, has been involved in several local art shows, has won various art awards, paints commissions, restores artwork, does fundraisers, has had galleries of his own in six different locations, has conducted art classes, and now looks forward to teaching privately or on the University level.
Dr. F. Javier Cevallos, President of Kutztown University, presented Tom with the Kutztown University Alumni Association's Rothermel Award in 2008. This award, presented to less than 1% of the graduates, recognizes the notable and distinguished achievements of alumni in their professional lives. In 2009, Leo Lutz, Mayor of Columbia, Pennsylvania, awarded Tom with Columbia Borough's Outstanding Citizen Award. Tom is also on Kutztown University's board of directors. Tom was also voted "Favorite Local Artist" by Lancaster Newspaper's Reader's Choice Awards. Tom's artwork can be seen in numerous homes, hotels, banks, restaurants, and corporate and professional offices throughout Lancaster County and beyond. (View Credits)
Tom has had the privilege of personally presenting his artwork to several well known politicians such as New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, United States Senator Arlen Specter, United States Attorney General Edwin Meese, Pennsylvania Governors Edward G. Rendell and Mark S. Schweiker, Pennsylvania Attorneys Generals Tom Corbett and Mike Fisher, State Representative Dave S. Hickernell, Lancaster County Commissioner Chairman Jim E. Huber, Lancaster Mayors Rick Gray, Charlie Smithgall, and Janice Stork, Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz, and others. (Click Credits)
Tom also has an interest in sports because of his dad's influence and mom's support. In 1965 at South Mountain Junior High School, Tom wrestled (city champion at 103 lbs.), ran track and field (set record in 880 yard relay race), and was table tennis champion (2X). Tom was the 1st man on the tennis team for two consecutive years and won the most outstanding tennis award in 1967 and 1968 at Louis E. Dieruff High. In 1969 and 1970, Tom played positions one through five on the tennis team at Kutztown University. He has a full gym (universal and free-weights) in his home.
In 2003, Tom met Dennis Rogers, professional strongman from Houston, Texas who is considered to be the strongest man on earth pound for pound. He became Tom's first personal strength trainer. Dennis taught Tom how to do the Old-time feats of strength such as bending spikes, horseshoes, steel bars, tearing decks of cards and phonebooks, rolling up frying pans, etc. Tom also received strength training tips from Russell Jones who is a motivational speaker and world class strength athlete, and he is currently training with Professional Strongman, Chris Rider.
Tom has met and/or personally presented his artwork to many strongmen, weightlifters/coaches, body builders, Mr. Americas, World's Strongest Men, and professional athletes and some of them are: Strongmen- Dennis Rogers, Larry Farman, a/k/a Slim the Hammerman, the Great Joe Rollino, Joseph L. Greenstein, a/k/a the Mighty Atom, and his son, Mike, Russell Jones, Chris Rider; Weightlifters and/or Coaches- Tommy Kono, Bill Good, Dr. and Dr. & Mrs. Terry Todd, Bob Hoffman, Dick "Smitty" Smith, Sam Bigler; Mr. Americas- John C. Grimek, Jules Bacon, and Joe Abbenda; World's Strongest Men- Don Reinhoudt, Bruce Wilhelm, and Sveyd Karlson. Tom's artwork is also in private collections of professional sports figures like Bill Bergey from the Philadelphia Eagles. (Click Credits)
Tom operates his wholesale and retail art business at Hermansader's Victorian Mansion and Art Gallery in Columbia, Pennsylvania.