J. Thomas Soltesz was born in a small coal mining town in western Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school, he moved to Florida and lived for two years painting billboards before moving to Denver and enrolling in the Colorado Institute of Art in 1974. He moved to the South Pacific in 1976 to start a graphic design studio in Manila. His graphic design career took him to Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Australia, and Papua New Guinea. He returned to the United States in 1982 to continue his education and freelanced his way through the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.
J. Thomas Soltesz is an Artist Member of the California Art Club. He is currently represented by art galleries in California. He is collected by corporations and individuals in the U.S. and abroad. He is also listed in the Library of Congress as a living legend of California.