Thomas Phillips was born in 1927 in Chickasha, Oklahoma. He was a trained artist from the age of nine years old, having attended the Helen Lorenze Art School in Oklahoma City.
Phillips went on to study at several different universities, including the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Kansas City Arts Institute. Afterwards, he joined the Merchant Marines and served in Korea as an artist. A member of the Chickasaw tribe, Phillips was considered to be “the poet of Western artists and a champion of preserving Native American history.”
Phillips worked at several different advertising agencies across the U.S. He also used his talents to inform the public about the history of the Chickasaw Nation. Much of his work has been sold around the world. Phillips chronicled events such as the Chickasaws’ initial meeting with Hernando de Soto and the centennial celebration of the historic Chickasaw Nation Capitol Building.
In 2005, after a lifetime of preserving Chickasaw history through his art, Thomas Phillips passed away.