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 R. Tom Gilleon  (1942 - )      Visit this Artist's Studio on AskART

About: R. Tom Gilleon
 

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Lived/Active: Montana/Florida      Known for: Indian tipis, landscape, cotton genre and wildlife painting

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Ad Code: 3
Tom Gilleon
from Auction House Records.
Hair Apparent
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Tom Gilleon was the featured artist in 2009 with the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. His works are in the permanent collection of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. His works are also in the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana, and The Booth Museum of Western Art in Carterville, Georgia. He was featured in the inaugural exhibition of Cattle Raisers Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Presently Gilleon is the designer/illustrator for Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Anaheim, Walt Disney World Florida, and Disneyland Shanghai.  

Courtesy of Buffalo Bill Art Show

Biography from Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale:
Tom Gilleon was the featured artist in 2009 with the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. His works are in the permanent collection of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. His works are also in the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana, and The Booth Museum of Western Art in Carterville, Georgia. He was featured in the inaugural exhibition of Cattle Raisers Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Presently Gilleon is the designer/illustrator for Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Anaheim, Walt Disney World Florida, and Disneyland Shanghai.

Biography from Altamira Fine Art:
While he has always worked as a fine artist, Tom Gilleon had a career that began years ago in the commercial field and as an illustrator for NASA's Apollo Program. He has since spent many years working with Disney and other theme park design groups as both a designer and illustrator.  Working with some of the great motion picture art directors there, has led to his involvement in the motion picture industry as well, where he has worked as an illustrator and storyboard artist on films such as the Disney movie, Dick Tracy.

In his own words, "Looking back, I was probably most influenced by the old era art directors and illustrators, Herb Ryman especially, who had the amazing ability to quickly and simply tell a story or convey a feeling with their artwork. I believe that this simplicity and strength is the key to fine art. Light, color, value, composition and line are paramount in importance.”

His diverse assignments have led to his living in all four corners of the country. Currently residing near Cascade, Montana, Gilleon is surrounded by inspiration for his art.  His clean style challenges the imagination and has garnered a strong following.  His perceptions of reality feature bold luminous color and economy of detail.  His trademark tipi paintings suggest a mythical glow as if illuminated by the moon or glowing embers within.

Gilleon says, "My interests are so varied; it's only natural that my art is varied. The subject itself isn't as important as the emotion it evokes.  It's the implication of a story being told, the visual connection between shapes that makes a good painting."

Gilleon is also lending a special hand to Red Feather American Indian Sustainable Housing Initiative through his talents as an artist.  He has painted Yellow Crow Lodge, a special limited edition Giclee print whose proceeds benefit the American Indian Sustainable Housing Initiative.

Tom Gilleon and his painting, Yellow Leaves Moon were selected as the featured artist and painting for the 2009 Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival.


Magazine Covers
2005 Southwest Art, January: cover image “Star Lodge” 48 x 48 oil
2005 In Flight, June: cover image: “Red Pony Lodge” 48 x 48 oil
2004 Big Sky Journal –ARTS: cover image “Sioux Sunset” 48 x 48 oil

Books and Periodicals
2005 Duty, Michael; Western Traditions
2003 Dunbier, Lonnie Pierson; The Artists Bluebook: 32,000 North American Artists
2002 Summer Big Sky Journal; R. Tom Gilleon: An Open Mind On Canvas
1997 Southwest Art; Red Book Price Guide-1997 Western American Art

Biography from Conservation Design Inc:
“Looking back, I was probably most influenced by the old era art directors and illustrators who had the amazing ability to quickly and simply tell a story or convey a feeling with their artwork. I believe that this simplicity and strength is the key to fine art. Light, color, value, composition and line are paramount in importance.” – R. Tom Gilleon

R. Tom Gilleon’s art is hard to pigeonhole. His interpretations of the American West are genuine and unique. His representations of native teepees are archetypal and primitive in their basic forms yet they are remarkably contemporary in composition with a sprinkling of personal symbols and humor. Gilleon’s work is coveted by collectors, increasingly finding homes in prominent museums and auctions such as the Coeur d’Alene.

Gilleon was born in 1942 and raised in Florida by his grandparents in the tiny outpost of Starke, near Jacksonville and the storied banks of the Suwannee River. His grandfather had immigrated to the United States from Scotland and became a renowned cabinetmaker. His grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee.

Gilleon earned a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Florida where he took courses in architecture. He served in the Navy in the early 1960s and then worked as an illustrator for NASA’s Apollo space program. Eventually, he went solo as a freelance illustrator based in Orlando and was hired by The Walt Disney Corporation to deliver conceptual sketches and designs for its Disney World theme park. Later, he moved to California to work at Disney’s Imagineering studio which designed Epcot Center and then Gilleon assisted in the planning of Disneyland Tokyo, Disneyland Hong Kong and Disneyland Paris.

The American West left a mesmerizing impact on him as an artist. Gilleon and his wife first built a home along the Dearborn River in Montana, and later purchased a ranch near Great Falls not far from the legendary Old North Trail where native peoples traveled millennia ago from the Arctic to the desert Southwest. Here Gilleon found clusters of teepee rings from encampments which inspire him to contemplate how the camps might have looked centuries ago.

Biography from STEVE ZABEL MTG:
The career of R. Tom Gilleon has been versatile, and has led to his living in all four corners of the country.  For this reason, he is compelled to paint a variety of subject matter. “My interests are so varied, it’s only natural that my art is varied.  The subject itself isn’t as important as the emotion it evokes.  It’s the implication of a story being told, the visual connection between shapes that makes a good painting.”

Gilleon's past experience in so many artistic fields has added many aspects to his career.  While he has always worked as a fine artist, he began years ago in the commercial field as well, as an illustrator for NASA’s Apollo Program.  He has since spent many years working with Disney and other theme park design groups as a designer and illustrator.  Working with some of the great motion picture art directors there, has led to his involvement in the motion picture industry as well.  There he has worked as an illustrator and storyboard artist.  One of his more interesting studio jobs was doing matte paintings for the Disney movie, Dick Tracy.

“Looking back, I was probably most influenced by the old era art directors and illustrators, Herb Ryman especially, who had the amazing ability to quickly and simply tell a story or convey a feeling with their artwork.  I believe that this simplicity and strength is the key to fine art.  Light, color, value, composition and line are paramount in importance.  A good work of art is so much more than a copies photograph.  In elimination the unnecessary elements and being as direct as possible, an artist has the opportunity to tell a story, to guide the viewer’s eye and emotion.”

For many years, Tom and his family have made their home in Montana, first in the mountains outside of Augusta, and now on his ranch near Cascade. There, he paints for himself, and continues to work as an illustrator for Disney and to illustrate books.

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