Born in London in 1936, Tony Magar studied at the Royal Albert School of Speech and Literature. Following years of extensive traveling throughout Africa, China, and India, Magar entered his art career with his first endeavor as an apprentice sculptor to Mark di Suvero, but by 1978 he became focused on painting. His painting career took off when he moved to New York and began working with a group of abstract artists. Magar worked with and became friends with artists such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg, and was one of the founders of Park Place, the first gallery in SoHo to show abstract art.
During the 1950s, Magar experimented with his paintings by lighting the lacquer that covered his painting collages, creating what he termed "burn" paintings. These burn paintings resulted in two fires that ravaged his studio. Eventually he moved to Denver where he taught sculpture at the University of Denver. He continued to paint and carry out commissions about the Vietnam war and the politics of the Nixon era. Magar equates "expression" in art with making a statement that results in a resonance between the painting and the viewer.
"I don't want to hit anybody over the head with a personal statement but rather let air and space into the work. I want it to evoke feeling rather than provide some kind of visual entertainment. I want to see colors I've never seen before and feel vibrations from color that I don't feel from anyone else's paintings."