It was 1979 and, after leaving a New York City subway car, Tom suddenly realized he'd left behind his irreplaceable portfolio—the only way he had to show his artwork to publishers and find the work he desperately needed. Without it, he was lost. He spun around to go back, only getting part of his arm through before the doors closed on it. A fast-thinking stranger, someone Tom would never see again, noticed his dilemma, grabbed the portfolio, and pressed it into Tom's hand for him to pull through the closed doors.


Had this stranger not done this, all of Tom's subsequent work: books of his art, autobiographical monographs, dozens of illustrated books, numerous book covers, awards of all sizes and shapes, and Tom's epic Gnemo series of paintings may have never have happened because he very likely, not wanting to let his art go, would have been pulled down the subway track to his death. For decades now, Tom thanks his fast-thinking stranger friend.






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