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Born in Miami, Florida, the son of two amateur painters, T.J. Bridge began to experiment with watercolor and oil painting as early as ten years of age. His first inspiration was the natural world, particularly its extreme, opposite forms, from the peaceful oceans of the Florida coast to lofty mountains, barren deserts, and fertile pastures.
Along with his reverence for nature, Bridge held a deep respect for the self-taught artistic tradition of southern American culture. These two passions not only inspired Bridge to paint breathtaking natural scenes, but to do so with confidence that the self-taught artist's work is just as valid and potent as schooled, developed artwork.
Bridge moved with his family to Atlanta, Georgia, in the late 1980s. He received a B.F.A. from the University of Georgia at Athens. While his schooling greatly improved his craft as a painter, Bridge felt somewhat unfulfilled in the university setting. He took nearly a year to travel, painting fast and instinctive renditions of the American landscape. During these travels, Bridge reconnected with the extremes and complexities of nature that had first inspired him. Today, Bridge continues to explore the natural landscape from his private studios in both Atlanta and Athens, Georgia.