Tom Everhart is famous for his collaboration with Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. In Tom’s studio in Venice, California he paints beautiful pictures of the Peanuts gang and is renowned throughout the world. But doctors are amazed that Tom is still alive today to showcase his beautiful artwork.
In 1988, Tom Everhart was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the colon and liver. His doctor at Johns Hopkins told him he needed to have surgery immediately. He wasn’t expected to live through the night. But he did live and stayed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland for 1-½ months. He survived two major surgeries and months of radical chemotherapy and was told by doctors that the odds of living longer than two years were slim.
During the weeks he received treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, he accumulated boxes of crayons and sketch pads that he used to create colorful drawings. He surrounded his bed with stacks of art-history books on one side and piles of Schulz’s comic strips that the cartoonist had sent him on the other. One day while drawing, he suddenly felt a new understanding of Schulz’s work — a crossover between fine art and cartoons. He said it gave him a sense of freedom, a confirmation that he could use what he had learned from Schulz in his own artwork. “I was always fearful of the art world’s reception of his cartoons in my fine art,” Everhart says. “It wasn’t done in the art world. But now because of my illness, I didn’t fear the art world or what they would think. I never felt so much passion as I did to start his body of work.” Charles Shulz agreed contractually in 1991 to let Everhart use the Peanuts characters as subject matter in his art in perpetuity.
Today Tom Everhart continues to create art and live his life with a passion. A passion to be alive after all these years when doctors didn’t expect him to live past his hospital stay. Tom says he often sees people who look angry and yet he feels happy just to be alive and breathing. If you find something in life you are passionate about, you can live life to the fullest and have a reason for living each day. Tom paints with a Polynesian influence in his artwork and you can often see Snoopy and friends living it up with bright colors and celebration. Doctors don’t know how Tom Everhart beat the odds with his cancer but they told him, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”
Everhart’s Schulz-related work has been shown at The Louvre in Paris, in Los Angeles at the L.A. County Museum of Natural History, Montreal at the Museum of Fine Arts, Tokyo, Japan at the Suntory Museum of Art, Osaka, Rome, Venice, Milan, Minneapolis, Baltimore, New York City, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and in Santa Rosa, California at the Charles M. Schulz Museum.