Tom Hallifax trained at the University of Ulster for a degree in Fine Art (1992). Since then he has exhibited extensively in both Belfast and London, most notably on three occasions at the National Portrait Gallery’s BP Portrait Award, for which he received a Commendation (1994). Other awards include the Royal Ulster Academy President’s Prize (1993) and residencies a the Ulster Museum (2001). Hallifax went to Los Angeles and Hong Kong as artist accompanying Prince Charles (1994) and subsequently received the commission to paint the garden at Highgrove for the Prince’s Trust. His work was selected to advertise the BP Portrait Awards (1996), and he appeared in the documentary Tongue Tied, painting John Diamond (1997). Examples of his pictures can be found in many public collections and notable clients include the likes of Paul Smith. After living in Belfast for seven years in the 1990’s, he now divides his time between London and Donegal.
The culmination of several years of intensive observation, his style is often bold while his views of Loch Nevis and the surrounding area are frequently more sensitive, capturing a feeling of time and place, and thereby lending a consistent freshness and originality to his pictures. A key element in his working practise is to work entirely on the spot, giving his work a vital sense of immediacy. Nevertheless, he avoids the mistake of including haphazard and incidental details, concentrating instead on the essential elements of the scene, which he renders with decisive and well-observed lines.