Thomas Hodgson raised on Toronto's Centre Island, whose childhood was filled with many activities, where he took art classes that were organized by Group of Seven member Arthur Lismer at what was then known as the Art Gallery of Toronto, now the Art Gallery of Ontario.
In addition to studying art at Central Technical School and at the Ontario College of Art, Hodgson served two years in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Also a member of the Canadian Olympic canoe team, he competed in Helsinki in 1952 and in Melbourne in 1956 and remained a competitive canoe racer for much of his life.
In the 1950s, Hodgson and two of his Central Tech classmates, Kazuo Nakamura and Harold Town, were among a group of similarly minded Ontario artists who were growing increasingly frustrated with Toronto's stuffy cultural and artistic establishment.
Harold Town suggested the name Painters Eleven for the new collective and for the next few years, the group of avant-garde abstract painters met, exhibited together regularly around Toronto and throughout Ontario and helped usher in Toronto's acceptance of modernism.
Unlike their predecessors in the Group of Seven, the members of the Painters Eleven did not subscribe to a particular aesthetic in their art.
Over the years, Hodgson continued adapting and evolving his own style, moving from earlier work influenced by his commercial art to abstract pieces inspired by everyday items around him to later collections of figurative and erotic art. He continued to paint until his Alzheimer's forced him to stop around 2000.
Hodgson's work has been featured in more than 20 exhibitions, including at the AGO, Calgary's Glenbow Museum, the Galérie d'arts contemporains de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
His work, and that of other Painters Eleven artists, is also featured at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery. It was founded by collective member Luke and her husband, who was an heir to the McLaughlin Carriage Company fortune.