Published on January 9, 2013 by Amy
Tom Phillips was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma.
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His great grandfather Thomas Jefferson Phillips, who had some Native American blood, ventured to Oklahoma in the 1850s, married a Native American woman and became a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.
By the age of nine, Phillips showed so much interest in drawing he was sent to the Helen Lorenze Art School in Oklahoma City.
There, he studied the fundamentals of perspective, anatomy and drawing landscapes until he was 16.
Since then, he has studied at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and the Kansas City Art Institute.
Phillips also studied privately with David Kreitzer out of Mill Valley, California and Mark Anstending of San Francisco, California who instructed him in the esoterics of sight and sound.
Phillips then spent 20 years working as a commercial illustrator in New York, Colorado Springs and Kansas City in order to support himself.
In 1970, he began devoting his time to painting and sculptures. He spent much time visiting ranches, reservations and scenic attractions of the west in order to record the local color.
The distinguishing characteristic of his work is his ability to capture subtle expressions and quiet, tender moments of reflection. Many consider him the poet of the Western artists.
Phillips painted the mural behind the “Lakota Buffalo Days” Diorama housed in the Akta Lakota Museum at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD.