March 5, 1942 – Feb. 13, 2024

The acclaimed North Fork artist Thomas Lulevitch of Southold passed away on Feb. 13, 2024. He was 81 years old and died peacefully at home. He continued to draw and create art until the day before he passed.

He is survived by his partner and wife of 44 years, Sue Llewellyn; his brother Edward Lulevitch of California; his sister Kathleen Bier of Florida; nephew Edward Lulevitch 2nd of Philadelphia; nieces Janice and Donna Lulevitch and eight grand nieces and nephews. 

Thomas (Tom) was born in Philadelphia in 1942. He moved to Cherry Hill, N.J., and attended St Peters Grammar School for boys from 1948 to 1956. He then studied at Bishop Eustace Catholic Prep School from 1956 to 1960. He went on to attend the University of Dayton, Ohio, where he studied art from 1960 to 1962. He completed both a BA degree in Fine Art  and Graphic Design MFA at Philadelphia School of Fine Art (now University of the Arts) from 1962 to1965. In addition he studied and illustrated gross anatomy at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

In 1967 Thomas served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He was assigned to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and spent two years as a Marine Medic in the Navy’s dental department. During this time he sketched in the grounds of the Academy so relentlessly that the Rear Admiral asked him what he was doing. Upon seeing the illustrations, Tom was allowed access to draw where he chose.

From 1965 to the early 1980s, Tom studied all forms of art, including graphic design and illustration with Milton Glaser at the School of Visual Arts; illustration and life drawing with James McMullen, best known for his Lincoln Center posters, and typography with the legendary Herb Lubalin. Tom was a member of the Society of Illustrators and the New York Art Directors Club.

Throughout his life, he continued to study and fine tune his image-making skills using an extensive array of mediums. At the Pratt Institute, Tom studied etching/aquatint and lithography. At the Center for Book Arts, he studied bookbinding and book restoration. At the NYU School for Sacred Arts, he studied manuscript illumination and gold leafing with Karen Gorst. At Parsons School of Design (now the New School) he studied silkscreen. At the Vancouver Film School in Canada, he studied film animation.

Tom lived in Manhattan for many years and worked as a freelance illustrator for numerous magazines, books and newspapers including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, the Boston Globe, Manhattan, inc, The New York Observer, the Yale and Harvard Review magazines, Fortune and Time.

He illustrated the international best selling book series “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” and garnered awards from The Society of Illustrators, The Art Directors Club of New York, Communication Arts, Print and Graphics Magazines.

Tom filmed and interviewed over 40 internationally known art, design and photography directors  to discuss the world of Book and Publication Design. This was to benefit the students that he taught, but the films were also shown at New York Art Directors Club and the Society of Publication Designers events.

In 1994 Tom and his wife Sue, moved to Vancouver where he became the Head of Department of Graphic Design at The University College of the Fraser Valley. However, New York was never far from their thoughts and they returned to the city. Tom then taught Illustration at Parsons School of Design and Graphic Design at Baruch College until he retired. 

Eventually, Tom and his wife moved to Southold permanently after being part time since 1992. It was here on the North Fork that Tom became a full time painter (mainly using egg oil tempera on gessoed panels and larger works in acrylic on hand made paper and oil on linen). 

He created an astonishing series of oil paintings featuring NOFO vineyards and various historic spots of the East End. His art was exhibited on the North and South Forks, in Manhattan and in the UK. Tom’s egg oil emulsion triptych of King John was chosen for the Canterbury Festival, UK to celebrate the 800-year anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carter in 1215. The painting now hangs in a 16th century Alms building in Kent, UK.

Tom’s legacy of his NoFo period is a body of oil paintings, intricate bookbinding projects, a 120-plus collection of personal sketch books, decorated gold-leafed stones of NoFo, handmade lacquered sundials and hand painted boxes which all honor the beauty the North Fork, the area he dearly loved and his final place of rest.

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