Professor Thom Whalen holds an Associate of Arts degree from Lincoln Land Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in studio/art history from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Kansas. He currently teaches at LLCC and works as both a studio artist and graphic designer. He has designed signage, exhibits and promotions for the Smithsonian institution in Washington, D.C., The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield and clients such as Planet Hollywood, Extra TV, Hard Rock Hotel and Las Vegas casinos.
Whalen's art is influenced by Persian miniatures, The Hairy Who and Mesoamerican art. He uses "horror vacui" - filling the entire space with detail - as a source of freedom for expression beyond western tradition.