Tony Wilson grew up in Alberta, attending the Alberta College of Art in the late 1960s. He moved to Ontario in the early 1970s, living and working in Rochdale College for a period. During mid-decade he spent a brief sojourn in London, Ontario where he taught at Fanshawe College. By the end of the 1970's he had returned to Toronto and began teaching printmaking to photography students at Ryerson. In late 1981, he became part of the ChromaZone collective, a group that spearheaded the revival of figurative painting in Canada. Tony Wilson was equally gifted as a photographer, printmaker and painter. He made silkscreens of astonishing complexity. His deceptively casual photographs incisively chronicled an exciting time in Toronto's recent history: the birth and growth of the Queen Street art scene. From these photos he culled images, portraits and incidents to inject into his vibrant, innovative paintings. Tony Wilson's paintings were singled out for critical attention by the local press in both Berlin (O Kromazone, 1982) and Zurich (Fire & Ice, 1985). After ChromaZone dissolved in 1985, he spent a large part of his time working on privately commissioned portraits. Also during this time he participated in many group shows, most memorably contributing excellent work to such gay and lesbian group shows as the annual Queerculture exhibition. 

Tony Wilson's engagement with the larger art world was renewed when he co-founded the artist collective The Red Head in 1990. In the immediate months before his death he was working on a portrait series of "strangers" in the downtown core (businessmen at lunch hour, people at bus stops, etc.) for a solo exhibition.

Latent Physiognomy , 1990
Woodcut and linocut