Tom Vroman's paintings and illustrations have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Louvre in Paris. One of his works is in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
And now Vroman is in Steamboat Springs to share his lifetime of expertise as an illustrator during a free public talk and slideshow Thursday night at the Depot Art Center. Vroman said he will discuss the wide range of opportunities for people who are interested in art and design.
"I wonder if people stop and think about all the different areas art gets into in the course of our lives," Vroman said. "I wonder how many people realize what a vast field this is."
Vroman should know. He got his start painting signs on barbershop windows. During World War II, he spent his time at Army intelligence headquarters in London "brushing elbows with higher-ups every day." By the time Paris was liberated and Vroman's headquarters moved to the French city, his superiors made sure he had time to attend the Beaux Arts school.
Vroman eventually returned home to study art in Pennsylvania. He got his first big break when he was commissioned to create a historical painting about James Madison for the Container Corporation of America's "Great Ideas" advertising campaign.
That was Vroman's launching point. He soon got a multi-year assignment to illustrate an ongoing series of historical stories in Collier's magazine.
His diverse repertoire includes illustrating an opera, training brochures about how to coach high school football with Vince Lombardi and film titles.
These days, Vroman has his own marketing and design company, with headquarters next to his home in north-central Pennsylvania.