The career of R. Tom Gilleon has been an interesting one, and one that has led to his living in all four corners of the country. The change of scenery has compelled him 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 to his versatility. While he has always worked as a fine artist, his artistic career began years ago in the commercial field, 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 led to his involvement in the motion picture industry as well. There, Gilleon worked as an illustrator and storyboard artist. One of his more interesting studio jobs was doing matte paintings for the Disney movie, “Dick Tracey.” .
“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 copied photograph. In eliminating 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, Gilleon and his family have made their home in Montana. There, he continues with both his fine art and illustration painting..