Tom Virgin is a Miami based artist, proprietor of Extra Virgin Press and for twenty five years, a Title I Public School Art teacher. Virgin received his BFA in Printmaking & Painting from Florida Atlantic University in 1989, and an MFA in Printmaking at University of Miami in 1994. He has studied printmaking, book arts, and letterpress in over forty post-graduate classes around the United States and teaches workshops in those subjects.
Born and raised in Detroit, on jazz, blues, Motown, and rock & roll, Virgin has now spent twice as much time in Florida than in his native Michigan. Residencies around the U.S. in artist’s communities and national parks have also informed his practice. His work in collaborations, prints, book arts, and public art often depict shared civic resources such as public schools, National Parks, and his home states (Michigan, Florida).
In the twenty five years that I have been an artist/educator, I have built a practice in printmaking, most recently as Extra Virgin Press, a small independent letterpress studio. Making art available to the widest community through prints, book arts, and public art for public collections has been my bedrock. Public libraries, public buildings, universities and shared venues have hosted most of my exhibitions.
The work comes from stories emerging from my communities. An early series of woodcut prints of the Florida Keys prints, led to my entry into book arts. As multiple artist residencies developed relationships and mentors in other parts of the U.S., I have introduced Miami to these new friends. Research and study in book arts and printing led me to embrace traditional letterpress printing.
Since 2015, I have been building a community around Extra Virgin Press, a different kind of player in public art. We create democratic multiples and prints, collaborating with Miami’s rich community of artists and writers, to bring small works to the public institutions and community at large. We record and print conversations started between visual art and writing. Words, symbols, metaphors and images provoke and expand the conversation begun in public art and bring them into homes and institutions.