A Budding Artist Sprouts in Southern Soil

Tom’s early closeness to nature instilled a sense of keen observance and artistic inspiration within him. Viewing and recording the world’s details became second nature to Tom even when he was a small boy—long before he knew what an artist was. Tom recalls noting and probing the elements of Dillon’s rural wonderland. He was fascinated by shade, movement, and variations of light. l Later, he could not resist capturing the details on a makeshift “canvas.” He explains, “I would take a stick and draw certain impressions of things I saw in the sand.” Tom lacked the necessary pencils, paper, and chalk in his early home but was an artist nonetheless.

The more practice Tom gained sketching on the dusty ground, the more he desired to draw. He sought to depict the world more and more vividly with his hands as the years went by. Even then, Tom was on his way to developing his true natural artistic talent. One Saturday after soaking up the amazing sights and sounds of the County Fair, Tom was especially inspired. He took a stick and drew a circus scene he saw “entirely in his mind.” He recalls drawing the scene as freshly as if a photograph had been before him. Although such an incredible memory and a unique talent were to go underused for some time, nothing would keep Tom from his passion for art.

Throughout nine decades, a love of art would burn fiercely in the heart of this man who once wandered meadows and played with chickens as a boy. Tom Malloy’s early instincts for drawing never translated into the full goal of an artistic career until he was well into his fifties. Yet, Tom never let soot smother the glowing embers of his fiery love of art.