Born in Washington, DC, in 1945 and raised in Baltimore, John Thomas Wells' art education was a composite of private tutoring, personal experimentation and select university courses. His grandmother, Adelaide Reardon Wells, was a painter. Her home in Bethesda Maryland was a sanctuary for young Thomas, where he perused her books on drawing and absorbed a sacred respect for creativity.
During a two-year military assignment in Japan in the mid-1960s, Wells was tutored in Sumi-e, the traditional Japanese brush painting, and oriental calligraphy. And he had an intimate exposure to Zen Buddhism. The discipline of the oriental brush ushered in his prolific watercolor period.
During the 1970s Wells sold his work on the streets of New York, through the unsanctioned artists' bazaar in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then later through Benwai Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
In the early 1980s, Wells apprenticed with Benoit Gilsoul, a Belgium artist, who was executing large public commissions in sandblasted glass from his studio in lower Manhattan. Later Wells opened his own glass studio and went on to execute highly complex glass mural commissions in public and private venues in Manhattan, Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland.
From 1993 to 2003, the artist’s studio was situated at the Artists Housing Cooperative in East Baltimore. An ongoing fascination from childhood had kept his studio shelves filled with assorted found objects. Then a failed attempt in 2000 to enter AVAM's Kinetic Sculpture Race triggered a new interest in these idle objects, and so began his dynamic assemblage period.
"The process, per the artist, "is an exploration into, and celebration of infinity. It begins with the harvesting objects imbued with subtle qualities and then allowing them to interact and combine with other finds."
His prolific output in this medium was presented in 12 exhibitions over a four-year period in the Mid-Atlantic region. Most notable were his two solo shows: Primitive Post-Modern Artifacts in 2000 and Powerless Weapons, Useless Tools in 2002. As a member of the Maryland State Art Council Registry, he was selected into the 17th Annual Critic's Residency Program in 2003. In 2004, he was juried into the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Later he kept studio at the Jackson Art Center in Georgetown, Washington DC. Currently his works are presented through Newman Gallery in Washington DC and MIKO ART in La Pas, Bolivia.