Thomas Horn
Venture Beneath the Canopy

About Thomas Horn

Thomas Horn was born June 16, 1969 in Allentown, Pa. Growing up on South Mountain in the town of Emmaus, Pa. kept him close to nature. At the age of ten his parents enrolled him into a private art class where he was exposed to various art forms including decoy carving. At age thirteen he carved his first bird and continued carving up until he graduated Emmaus High School in 1988.

He continued his art education at Kutztown University where he graduated in 1992 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree. While in college an internship helped him explore jewelry design and manufacturing. This internship turned into a full time position at Feldman Design, a small local jewelry manufacturer.

Shortly after graduating college, Thomas became interested in breeding tropical poison dart frogs from South America. His success with breeding was later made public when he co-authored 'Amphibians Quarterly Poison Dart Frogs', a comprehensive breeding book covering every aspect of tropical frog husbandry. Visiting the tropics gave him a greater appreciation of other wildlife as well as a better understanding of dart frogs in their natural habitat. This interest of tropical ecosystems required intense knowledge and has now been Thomas's passion for the past two decades.

In 2004 Thomas bridged the gap between art and passion. He began to carve wood, something he had not done since he was a teenager. This is when he created his first life size work incorporating two Green Aracaris and many tropical plants. He then entered it in the Ward Competition in 2005 and left with a Best in Show at novice level. He has achieved six times since that year. In 2007 he achieved First in World Category-Life-size, with his Plate-billed Mountain Toucan and spider and again in 2012 with his Violet hummingbird and Green Hermit, and in 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014 he earned Third in World in the life-size category.

Thomas's art is created with various types of wood and metal to replicate small portions of the tropical rainforest of which he loves. His primary subject is tropical songbirds in which he uses either bass or tupelo wood to carve. A key element in his larger pieces is the tropical habitats in which these birds live. Most of the habitat is delicate and requires the use of brass, copper and steel to create functional base for his work. Many layers of acrylic paint bring the whole piece together and give it 'life'.

After 23 years of employment as a goldsmith Thomas left his day job to pursue his art career. Apart from his competition sculptures, Thomas has also been commissioned to create his art for several public displays. One of his largest commissions, a series of five life-sized raptors, can be seen at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary's new educational center located in Kempton, Pa. His work has also been in several museums as well as many private collections.