Walton is unique in the pod of Cape inspired artists not only because she isn’t beholden to any sort of ‘natural’ boundary of shape or color-but because she isn’t imitating anyone. There’s no careless remnant of Hawthorne, Whorf or Waugh in any of her series. Whether they were inspired by Provincetown harbor or the American Bison.
Walton has painted or experimented with some sort of medium ever since she was 12. Born in 1961, she grew up in Newburyport on the North shore. Instead of art school, she chose books and practice: sketching neighbor’s houses for 5 dollars. Art is a piece of who she is because it’s what she’s always needed to do. When she was a teenager, she created a studio on the top floor of her family home where she painted for long stretches at a time. Unlike in Provincetown, where we might have family,
familiar names or neighbors to steer our first voyages into art-TJ only had herself.
After having gone through a period as a young adult of believing that she had to go to art school to consider herself an artist, she realized that she had to acknowledge herself as one and taking the leap and leaving the need for external approval behind.
In Boston, Walton focused mainly on painting for its own sake. Not attempting to make money from it, she continued just because she knew she had to. Moving to Provincetown full time after her first summer in 1989, she found a place clear of petty distractions. Able to focus on what she really wanted, she could start to figure out how to go about spending more time on her work. Being self-taught, discipline is key-she knows when she’s finished because the intuitions stop. Waitressing for several summers at the original Adrian’s Restaurant on route 6A, Walton exhibited there frequently, but still had to find time to paint. Which she did, of course. And
she continues to gain a following with her quiet, confident dedication. One of the things that makes Provincetown so important (and a place for people like Walton to
flourish) is the fact that you can never get too comfortable. This makes it the right environment for people who want to perform what Eileen Myles referred to as “a uniquely American trick”-being popular and good. If TJ doesn’t feel like she’s growing as an artist, she shifts her focus. “Hopefully, I never completely will be satisfied.”(Provincetown Banner, 2001)
That journey has made her one of the most internationally collected artists in Provincetown. Walton also has permanent installations of her Whale Tails at Joe’s Coffee, Saki and The Red Inn. She has shown at Miami Art Basel four times and been featured in numerous publications. Several of TJ Walton’s paintings are also in the permanent collection of the internationally prestigious Provincetown Art Association & Museum (PAAM), the National Marine Life Center as well as the Newburyport Custom House Maritime Museum.