"Working with Thomas Orr helped me recognize the value of a work experience rather than simply gaining a credential. Thomas helps artists become better artists from the core—understanding that this will empower them to make their strongest, most impactful and most meaningful work that, in turn, will best support any future career endeavors or personal goals they may have.
Thomas excels at helping artists develop a unique language tailored to their personal experience and expression.
Thomas’ support and guidance helped me establish a system to work through challenging moments in the studio that I still use today."
"Thomas Orr empowered me to find my voice, listen to my voice, and hone my voice; and he did so by not impressing his own ego on my work or my direction, but rather asking me the right questions that allowed me to answer them for myself.
Thomas Orr has identified what makes a great teacher; removal of one’s ego to be more open to possibility and new direction.
Thomas also taught me more than just finding my voice in art; he taught me how to live and how to lead others to live. He didn’t do this by telling me what to do; he did this by leading by example. He showed me by exposing me to how he has chosen to live his life through his actions not his words.
Thomas has imparted on me his 'spiritual cadence.' For this I will be forever grateful."
"…As I studied with Thomas, I had a lot of questions. So did he.
I think an ASPEAMP artist should expect to be challenged, but also expect to learn to challenge themselves.
Thomas’ style as a mentor is to ask a lot of questions, and present you with challenges, but also to teach you to ask those questions of yourself. This is valuable because once you leave the mentorship, you have the skills to think more critically and ask those things of yourself…. Which is one of the most important things you need if you’re going to continue in a lifetime of making."
"Working with Thomas has been the most successful mentorship I have ever had. Thomas approaches each person he works with in a unique way, always asking the right questions and helping you find the answers you need.
Thomas is the rare individual that can often see to the heart of a person’s work, and bring out what one needs to grow and flourish.
His easygoing demeanor can often be deceptive. Thomas expects you to work hard and hold nothing back in the studio. His approach to making and speaking about art have opened up avenues of exploration within my work that otherwise would not have been possible. He has helped me to grow not only as an artist, but as a person."
“I was challenged by the feedback Thomas provided, and humbled by the insights he had on my motivations as an artist.
The ASP/EAMP seems like an amazing opportunity for an artist to grow in their artistic practice and work with an inspiring mentor. Thomas is the only instructor with whom I have maintained regular contact. He and I have chatted numerous times about teaching and art making. I have fond memories of having long discussions over meals with Joanna and Thomas.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who stays so engaged in academic development."
"Thomas asked questions that would help lead you to the answer that was best for you. He was always open minded and never made me feel as though what I was making or what I was thinking was insignificant. I felt that with Thomas if you were willing to be open minded and try new things, then so was he.
Although getting into grad school might have been the reason I began working with Thomas, he truly guided me to become a better artist, and I really value our friendship. "
"Studying under Thomas was just another little step that made a huge difference.”
I was first introduced to Thomas through my undergraduate professor, Del Harrow. I was about to graduate with my BFA from Colorado State University and still felt like I needed some guidance. I was looking to build up a way to talk about art and to develop my own way of making and thinking. So I headed to Oregon to study under Thomas.
The year I spent with Thomas helped me develop strong body of work for admission to the Cranbrook MFA program."