An original Mosiej

[photo by Julie Ray] From left, artist Tom Mosiej poses with an original art piece alongside Cheryl and Tim Teel, owners of the local steakhouse, The Side Porch. Cheryl commissioned the painting from Mosiej as a present for her husband.
Tom Mosiej, Bartlett resident and artist, was born in 1928, two months before the birth of Mickey Mouse, in Chicago. A slight and nimble man, even at 84 years young, it is easy to picture him in 1951 participating in the Detroit Olympic trials for gymnastics. While he did not make it all the way to the Olympics he boasts several medals.  Soon after his Olympic disappointment he did land a job with the Corps of Engineers in Cook County, IL.  With several years of government architectural work under his belt, in 1961 Tom moved to the Memphis area. He designed 6 parks and countless buildings, mostly government work, including the Veterans Hospital in Memphis, while working for Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

Tom left Skidmore, Owings and Merrill for a position with Trammell Crow.  Tom and his boss, Thomas Farnsworth, flew to Nike headquarters in Beaverton, OR in hopes of securing the contract for a Nike building on Winchester near East Memphis. While in flight, the exuberant Tom Mosiej made sketches of the site plan on airline napkins for the meeting with Nike officials.

“Nike wanted rail, trucking, and parking facilities and weren’t sure how it would work with the specific site that had been selected,” explains Mosiej.  “During the meeting they (Nike officials) told Farnsworth and me what they wanted but weren’t sure how to get it.  I said, ‘I know’ and produced my doodles.  Farnsworth gave me the account.”

Mosiej is best known for his artwork around town these days.  One is prominently displayed at Bartlett city hall, a gift to the city. Mosiej also did the painting of a cozy Bartlett staple, The Side Porch, 5689 Stage Road, and added cutout figures representing Tim and Cheryl Teel, owners of The Side Porch since 2008, who could not have been more pleased. He was commissioned by Cheryl to paint a painting of the restaurant as her husband’s Christmas present last year.

Tom is composed of talent with equal part luck and boundless energy.  That fact helps with the production, for the fourth year in a row, of his 2013 calendar available at Wiemar’s Jewelry, 7525 Stage Road, Salon Allure, 9020 Stage Road in Lakeland and The Side Porch. Mike Clark, local poet has put copy with the artwork selected for each month as well as a poem in the inside cover. Anita Mosiej, Tom’s wife of 15 years, is editor and has an original art piece for the month of June.

Tom prints just 200 of his calendars a year. So that if the businesses where his calendars are sold are not convenient, Tom might just work something out if contacted at 901-281-9976. Calling his number might procure a calendar and a lifelong friend. Tom is enchanting with an infectious whimsical attitude and charm that has won him the nickname, Romeo, which he playfully infused in the artwork selection for March 2013. And who knows, he might just be available for an original commission.