Thomas Rude was born in Minnesota, grandson of Norwegian immigrants. Neither was an artist nor were his parents. Thomas ignored this. Cruising Minneapolis streets at night, from White Castle to a frozen Minnehaha creek for a skate, he always carried his wooden box of X-Acto knives and a lumber scrap or two. Thomas whittled human heads of pine, coloring them with dark shoe polish: blacks and cordovans. Later he would flee to California and then to Portland, Oregon to further develop his art. "My artwork refers to a journey through my own mysterious world, churning up artifacts, looking for answers. It is a dramatization of that which is significant to me when I go to make art. The shapes, colors, materials, ingredients are all specific and agonized over and accidentally stumbled upon. It is often surprising what comes flapping or oozing out and what remains persistently elusive."