By Brent Wilcox
Local western artist and Minco Millennium cartoonist Tom Simonton has recently been spotlighted in two national magazines, American Frontiersman and Guns of the Old West.
Simonton has lived in Minco for more than three decades.
In addition to his beautiful oil paintings, he illustrates a cartoon each week for the Minco Millennium called “Minco Mysteries.”
On page 2 of American Frontiersman the Editors’ Welcome begins, “If you love the American frontier and the Old West, you’ll also love Tom Simonton, the man who created this issue’s cover art.”
In the article Tom said he “sold his first Western painting at the age of 14.” But his artistic talents started much earlier in life.
“People could notice that at four years old my stuff was different than other kids’ stuff,” Tom told Chesnut.
The magazine article points out that at an early age, Tom drew dinosaurs and later focused on science fiction, but it was Western art that grabbed him.
He explained that his family heritage inspired his love of Western art.
His great-grandparents had a ranch outside of Duncan and his great-grandmother was a Chickasaw.
“It always goes back to that, and that’s what I’m about. That heritage is strong,” Tom said in the article.
Simonton’s art was featured on the cover of the spring issue of American Frontiersman, which was accompanied by a five-page article. The article featured 10 of Simonton’s works of frontier and western art and a photo of Simonton standing in front of some of his art at the Re-Store in Minco.
A similar article accompanied by photos of the same pieces of art make up a six-page spread in the summer issue of the magazine, Guns of the Old West.
Both articles were written by Mark Chesnut.
“Mark told me he was originally from Tuttle, so he knew exactly where Minco is on the map,” said Simonton.
Chesnut is Senior Editor and Consultant for both magazines, which are published in Nashville, Tennessee.
Simonton’s story of ending up a featured artist in the publications is a study in perseverance and patience, as well as a little luck.
In the summer of 2020, Simonton bought a magazine at the Dollar General in Minco.
“I was in the dollar store, saw the magazine and bought it. I thought, these people might be interested in some of my illustrations,” Simonton said.
He brought the magazine to the Minco Millennium office and asked if we could email the publisher to see if the magazine would be interested in any of his art for publication.
We sent a few photos I took of Tom’s art along with Tom’s phone number.
The answer was a long time coming.
Ten months later Chesnut called Simonton and asked if we could send him more samples of his art.
One year ago, in June of 2021, we emailed him two more photos I took of Tom’s paintings and sent him a link to Simonton’s Facebook page for his art, Oklahoma Western Artist.
Four months ago, in February of this year, Mark called Tom again and interviewed him for an article and asked us to email more photos of Tom’s artwork.
Since the publication of the magazine articles, people from other states have begun contacting Tom about his art on his art Facebook page (which is mentioned in the magazine).
The Minco Millennium congratulates “the Minco Kid” Tom Simonton on this well-deserved recognition.
If you are interested in purchasing a piece of Tom’s artwork, several of his masterpieces are on display at the Re-Store along with a book showcasing many of the pieces he has at home.