Artists That Inspire: R. Tom Gilleon

R. Tom GilleonShadow of the Sixth, oil, by R. Tom Gilleon, in private collection (image via C.M Russell Museum web site)

I have been wanting to do a new feature category on my blog, “Artists That Inspire.”  When I lived in Paris, I had the fortunate opportunity to visit many museums and special exhibits in France and throughout Europe.  I’ve been wanting to share some of those experiences as well as feature artists whose work I admire and inspire me that are working today.  So without further adieu…. today I am featuring a good friend R. Tom Gilleon.

I know Tom through working at Disney.  Tom was born in Florida, his grandmother was a full blood Cherokee Indian.  After playing baseball on a scholarship with the University of Florida and putting his dreams of becoming a professional base ball player aside, he worked as an illustrator for NASA’s Apollo Space Program.  Later he want freelance and eventually worked as an illustrator for Walt Disney World designing and doing conceptual  sketches for the Florida theme parks.  This eventually led to his move to California to work with Walt Disney Imagineering, where he was involved with the planning and design of Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland  and Disneyland Paris.

During the 1980’s he and his wife Laurie, also an accomplished artist, went to Montana for an outdoor painting workshop, fell in love with it and moved there. He has lived and worked in Montana ever since.   Tom’s work encompasses the West with landscapes, Native American imagery and his iconic Tee Pees, all with a freshness of color and innovative compositions.   His work appeals to many collectors.  Even though his subject matter is traditional, he represents these images with an almost contemporary feel with his use of color, composition and brush work.   I have admired his work for years and am proud to say I own a couple of his paintings.

Tom_at_the_easelTom at his easel (image via Tom Gilleon’s web site)

I am also honored to know this living artist who this year has had two one man museum retrospectives of his work.  Last year at the Booth Museum of Western Art in Cartersville, Georgia, and opening August 16, 2013 “Let Icons Be Icons” opening at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls Montana.  Way to go Tom!!

For more information on Tom and his work please visit his web site by clicking here.

P.S. For a good laugh check out the BS section on his site. 🙂


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