Tom Schultz was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1939. Basically a self-taught artist, he studied privately with Charles Bunnell in Colorado in the 1950s. He arrived in New York in 1959, at the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and met artists connected with the New York School of painting. That experience inspired him and expanded his outlook on painting.
Schultz moved to California in 1980, where he has produced a large body of work with a stronger use of color, gesture, and structure.