The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

Photograph of Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke

Meet Your Literary Community Exhibitor 2019

About Tom Van Dyke

Tom's father, Sam, moved off his father's farm in Water Town, Michigan into the city to work for Henry Ford at his Highland Park motorcar plant.  Tom grew up under the smoke stacks of the Ford Motor Car Company empire in Dearborn, Michigan.  Creatively impassioned from an early age, Tom colored, drew, painted and forged his way through public school, college, and graduate school evolving through the visual arts of painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, photography, design and architecture in pursuit of creative expression--a creative life.

Tom's continuing interest in the Arts and the theater of motion picture production began his career as an independent filmmaker, challenging him to develop story and screenwriting skills.  In Tom's words, "Filmmaking is the most engaging art form I have experienced -- involving the stuff of creation:  man in motion, literature--an authentic narrative voice and sharp crisp dialogue, the architecture of drama and the poetry of life -- fantasy, realism, surrealism; animations composed of light, sound, music, dance, costume and construction on a photographic canvas."

Tom's creative trail has been highlighted by many fortuitous events:  Playing checkers with Andy Warhol in 1967; his Acrylic Kinetic Light sculpture being judged 'Best in show' at the Butler Institute of American Art by American sculptor Tony Smith; an opportunity to work with filmmaker Robert Altman; creating and producing the 1976 American Bicentennial PSA TV announcements, Stand Up and Be Counted  featuring John Denver; and while working on the documentary, Hemmingway's Cuba, sitting in Cojimar, Habana in the garden of Gregorio Fuentes Betancourt  Jr., pilot of Pillar - the man who  inspired The Old Man and The Sea;  becoming friends with and my work praised by novelists, Elmore Leonard, and Michael Blake and having a docudrama film I produced considered for nomination of an Academy Award®.

Tom has moved back to the land and lives with his wife, Mary on their ranch in the foothills of Tonto National Forest in Cave Creek, Arizona where he wrote his best-selling book A Cowboy Christmas An American Tale.