"My interests are so varied that it's only natural that my art is varied. The subject itself isn't as important as the emotion it evokes. What makes a good painting is the implication of a story being told and the visual connection between shapes." - Tom Gilleon
R. Tom Gilleon was born in 1942, and raised by his grandparents in the tiny outpost of Starke, Florida, near the storied banks of the Suwannee River. Gilleon's grandfather had immigrated to the United States from Scotland. His grandmother, a full-blooded Cherokee, was descended from a band of tribal members who refused to partake in the infamous Trail of Tears.
Gilleon studied at the University of Florida, and joined the US Navy in the early 1960s. He then studied at Ringling College of Art and Design and subsequently took a job as an illustrator for NASA's Apollo space program. Since that time, he has spent many years working with Disney and other theme park design groups as both a designer and illustrator. He has been an illustrator and storyboard artist on films such as Disney's Dick Tracey.
A master of color and composition, Gilleon manipulates formal elements to depict time-honored Western themes in new and inventive ways. His evocative perceptions of reality feature bold luminous color and economy of detail. His trademark teepee paintings suggest a mythical glow, as if illuminated by the moon or glowing embers within.
Gilleon has garnered many top honors for his artwork. The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, selected Gilleon's painting "Northern Plains" for its permanent collection. Gilleon was the featured artist for the 2009 Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. In March 2013, his painting, "Hair Apparent," set a record at auction. He is the first living artist to have a solo show at the C.M. Russell Museum. The exhibit, titled Let Icons Be Icons: The Art of R. Tom Gilleon, opened August 16, 2013, and ran through December 28, 2013.
Southwest Art, July 2012, "Altos Llanos"
Art of the West, May/June, 2010, "Red Sky"
Western Art Collector, December 2009, "When Trees Pop"
Images, Summer 2009, "Yellow Leaves Moon"
Montana Land Reliance, Annual 2007, "Red Feather"
Southwest Art, January 2005, "Star Lodge"
In Flight, June 2005, "Red Pony Lodge"
Big Sky Journal -ARTS 2004, "Sioux Sunset"
Western Art Collector, feature September, 2015
Southwest Art Magazine, feature May, 2015
Western Art Collector, feature February 2015
Let Icons Be Icons: The Art of R. Tom Gilleon Museum show catalogue, August 2013