Tom Perkinson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1940. He was raised in the country, and developed a love for the natural landscape. In grade school, he discovered that he had a talent for art.
During high school he studied at the John Herron Institute of Art in Indianapolis. After high school, he studied at the Chicago Academy of Art.
Tom then attended the University of Oklahoma where he earned his bachelor's degree. After graduating, he moved to Albuquerque to pursue his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at The University of New Mexico.
He taught art at The University of New Mexico for two years after receiving his Master’s Degree. In 1970, he turned to painting full time. His work is included in private and public collections around the world, and he is represented in the collections of many museums, including the Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe; The University Art Museum, Albuquerque; and the Eiteljorg Museum of Western Art in Indianapolis.