the owner of Bondstreet Gallery introduced him to
Mason and Mason’s wife, Ann. The couple invited
Tomayko for coffee, and over time, they became friends.
Tomayko says he and Yannessa often visited the
painter’s studio in his fourth-floor walkup in Little Italy.
“[He played] the piano while you [walked]
around, so [it was] a real engaging experience,”
Tomayko says of the artist who died in 2009. “I was
thrilled with his art.”
Tomayko says he enjoyed getting to know the
Masons, adding that they were good contacts in the
art world. They helped the budding collector to begin
amassing works by offering him a payment plan on
pieces he purchased from them.
Mason’s work in general consists of traditional
A few pieces also are on display and for sale at the
scenes, landscapes, still-life compositions and genre
portraits — as do most of the paintings in Tomayko’s
collection. Tomayko also has a “fairly extensive regional
collection,” and he says he appreciates that the mid-
century American art encompassing most of his collec-
tion is “accessible” and “a little pricey, but not crazy.”
Mason’s work is featured almost exclusively in To-
mayko’s home gallery, where clay-red walls offset the
art. Around 15 of the 160 pieces Tomayko possesses
are housed in the room. The remainder of his collec-
tion is distributed throughout his home in Pittsburgh
and another home in Kiawah Island near Charleston,
S.C., as well as at Point Park and at TomaykoARTS.
Inn on Negley in Shadyside, which one of Tomayko’s
Sculptures in his home gallery generally lean to
figurative works, crafted by contemporary artists
Gustavo Torres, Paige Bradley, Jim Prokell, Nuccio
Fontanella, Susan Wagner and Vea Xiradakis. Else-
where in the home, few spaces lack art.
A few photographs hang in Tomayko’s guest bed-
room, including “House, Furnace, Skyline,” by Mark
Perrott. The striking black-and-white piece showcases
Pittsburgh’s latter-day smokestacks in the foreground,
with downtown glittering behind them. More Mason
paintings hang opposite family photographs in the
living room, while in the dining room pedestals
display more sculptures by Bradley and Torres.
Tomayko stores some of his older paintings to
make room for new works, but he says he likes to
display as much as he can.
“I want to see them,” he says. “I’ve never under-
stood why people have 2,000 pieces of art they’re
never going to see.”
Tomayko chose red-clay walls
for his home gallery to offset
the pieces he wanted to display