Tom Curtis was born in western Oklahoma on March 27, 1953.
His grandfather, Ben King Curtis left New Mexico for Oklahoma to escape the "Dust Bowl" of the 1930s and later became a popular auctioneer and the town fiddler. Bad luck followed them with the "Great Depression" .
Tom's mother's ancestors came to Oklahoma on the "Trail of Tears" and experienced the "Grapes of Wrath" first hand. The Oklahoma to California and back trips sometimes involved drinking water from the auto radiator in the Mohave desert. They lived wherever they could find a place. At times they lived in "dugouts" which were homes dug into the ground. They worked hard, picking grapes, cotton, oranges or whatever was in season. Later Tom's grandfather, the Reverend Robert Vincent started an auto shop on highway route 66 and the family settled in Elk City Oklahoma.
His parents Ben and Aline Curtis met in Elk City and married on June 21st 1952. After several more trips to California, they finally settled in the Oklahoma City.
They had four children of which Tom was the oldest. His interest in art was discovered early and he began drawing, painting and exhibiting his work at the age of twelve. He also had a great love of music and played the violin at church and local "gospel missions".
Tom enjoyed living in Oklahoma with its distinct seasons but always longed for the culture and climate of California. He enjoyed riding motorcycles and spending time with such artist friends as Claude Sanderson and TC Cannon. After two years of college he moved to Dallas Texas 1974. There he opened a stained glass studio. He soon met a maverick artist named John Ashley Bellamy and moved into a studio space at Bellamy's "Moon Mansion". This opened many new doors to a larger world of art.