Tom Dorr was born in the Midwest. His family moved to Colorado when he was eleven and that’s when his love affair with the cowboy began. Tom stalked the wild, wide-open places, gravitating toward the ranching scenes and studying the ranch animals and people.
Art opportunities developed in a parallel line, as he connected with a gifted high school teacher, Jack Frost, of Snowflake, Arizona. “No kidding, that was his name and that’s where he was from,” Dorr says. “This guy was amazing, and he was good at painting. We improvised kilns and cast bronzes. He was innovative; we had things going on that weren’t going on in other high schools. He was talented and everything he did was to help kids create.”
Frost’s magic formula worked and upon graduation, Tom was the proud recipient of a full ride scholarship to Colorado State University. The Fort Collins’ campus was the perfect lab for Dorr to continue to experiment with his art. The vet school provided animals and the nearby ranches provided the atmosphere. Although some of the art professors were “far out,” the landscapes were close-up and Tom thrived.
“I worked at many different jobs making an income, but I wasn’t happy,” Dorr says. My wife, Nancy, really helped me. She told me just ‘to pursue the art and we’ll see what happens’. She gave me support, and I needed that”.
It didn’t hurt Tom’s budding career when in the late 90’s, he won first place in oils at the Phippen Memorial show. At the same time, galleries began to sell his paintings as fast as he could bring them in. Best of all, Tom was finally painting the cowboys, landscapes, and the buildings he saw in his mind.
Happily making a living with his brushes, Dorr is now free to concentrate on preserving the cowboy life on canvas, considering himself as somewhat of an historian. He is adamant about those details and it shows in each piece. Tom has been rewarded often over his career with many prestigious awards and great feature articles. Art of the West, Southwest Art, Big Sky Journal, and other publications have featured his works and take note of his remarkable talents. Tom’s paintings are in private collections around the world and in galleries across the Untied States.