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R. Tom Gilleon
Born in 1942 in Gainesville, Florida, Tom Gilleon learned to draw in a home with no electricity by watching his Scottish grandfather sketch at night by kerosene lamp. Their yard’s white sand was his first canvas—drawing with a stick in his hand. In later years, Gilleon would incorporate these lessons with his mastery of luminosity, color, and visual storytelling honed at Disney Imagineering—combined with his passion for the American West—to inspire a fine art career and the Gilleon style of contemporary Western art.
In the 1960s, Gilleon attended the University of Florida and Art Students Guild of Brevard. He illustrated NASA’s Saturn and Apollo space programs and learned the discipline of drafting, technical precision, and elimination of unnecessary detail in his art. In the 1970s, he was hired by Disney Imagineering to conceptualize the designs of EPCOT Center in Orlando. He also painted the original concept designs for Disneyland’s Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Hong Kong theme parks.
In the ’80s Gilleon purchased a small Montana ranch near Glacier National Park and began his fine art career painting the American West in a modernist style while continuing to work for Disney remotely. He later bought a 2,000-acre ranch on the banks of the Missouri River in Cascade, Montana. Rich with history, the ranch was a favorite watering hole of famous Western painter Charlie Russell—and the subject of many Russell and Gilleon paintings.
Gilleon has exhibited at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas; the Jackson Hole Arts Festival, where he was Featured Artist; the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; and the Whitney Western Art Museum in Cody, Wyoming. The Booth Western Art Museum and the C. M. Russell Museum have both mounted solo exhibitions of his work, and he is a founding member of the Russell Museum’s Skull Society of Artists.
Opening in Fall 2022, the Scottsdale Museum of the West will exhibit an 80-painting, yearlong retrospective titled The Life of Tom Gilleon. The show will then take 6-month tours to the Russell Museum and the Booth Museum.
Avid art collector and essayist Patrick Hemingway has compared Gilleon’s work to the French modernist Edgar Degas. A PBS documentary, The Art of Tom Gilleon, is being produced for broadcast on national television in 2023.
R. Tom Gilleon is exclusively represented by KingArts. and exhibits at the Gilleon Gallery in Great Falls, Montana, and online at TomGilleon.art.