Thom McDonald was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1953 and received a B.A. in English from DePaul University in 1975. He worked as a teaching assistant at DePaul while acquiring his M.A., also in English, in 1976. He moved from Chicago to work as an artist in SOHO, New York City from 1985 to 1990.
From 1990 to 1993 he lived in Hosterkob, a small town north of Copenhagen, Denmark, while continuing to develop his body of artwork. He returned to the USA in 1993 and moved to the rural town of Stockton, New Jersey in the Delaware valley. In 2008, he and his wife Kathryn Cullen relocated to Woodside, California near San Francisco. He and his wife now live in Bend, Oregon.
He has exhibited his work in the Fassbender Gallery from 1995 through 2004. He has had a number of one person shows, and has participated in group shows at the gallery during this time period.
In 2017, Thom joined Peterson/Roth Gallery (petersonroth.com) in Bend, Oregon and exhibited his work in November 2017 and April 2018.
Also a poet, Thom received an Illinois Poet Laureate's award in 1971 from Gwendolyn Brooks and, most recently, an International Merit Award from the Atlanta Review in 2001.