Born in San Francisco in 1952, Thom Ross has had a life long interest in American History and the "folk hero" who is a product of that history and has long been the motivating force behind his work. His emphasis however is focused on the historical "folk hero" as compared to the mythical "folk hero". (An example of the historical folk hero would be Jesse James, a mythical folk hero would be Paul Bunyan; one actually existed while the other is a product of tall tails.)
His desire is to produce a work of art that requires the viewer to re-examine either what he knows about history, or what he thinks he knows about history. Ross has done paintings of Indians playing croquet; Indians playing ping pong; A camel walking through the deserts of Arizona with a human skeleton strapped to his back; An outlaw member of Butch Cassidy's "Wild Bunch" gang in the quick draw stance of the gunfighter where his opponent is a skunk; General Custer standing next to his pet pelican; and each of these images is based on an actual incident! By presenting such startling images, which are based in fact, it causes a unique reaction in the viewer.
His other objective in re-working so much of our past history into his work is his deep desire to "update" with bright colors, abstract forms and a contemporary style of painting of figures and events from a dim and often misunderstood past.
Ross believes that as we re-examine and often question the historical forces which shaped the lives of the subjects he paints, their "meaning" can fluctuate, and that the subjects of his works can be brought into a contemporary setting with a vibrancy and excitement that is seldom, if ever, found in the more standard traditional style of art work that has so often been used to represent "historical" figures and events.
With his love of history comes an enjoyment in story telling and he can easily capture and audiences attention with his passion and unique perspective.
Thom Ross shows in numerous galleries throughout the USA and now lectures at colleges on the Wild West where he combines a unique and passionate presentation of art and history.
We are your best source for new paintings and existing inventory by Thom Ross in the country. Check out his newest illustrations in the revised edition (2003) of Owen Wister's "The Virginian" now on bookstores shelves.