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In 2015 we purchased Noble Beasts Graphics as the previous owners after many years of hard work and dedication decided to retire. Much of the of the reason we decided to buy the company and keep it going was due to the amazing and inspirational artwork by Tori Thompson. Tori (sadly, she passed away in 2000) had been drawing animal portraits for years and she eventually formed Noble Beasts Graphics.
When we were in Grass Valley, CA to close on the sale of Noble Beasts Graphics we saw a portrait hanging in the lobby of a local hotel with Tori’s story written next to it. I feel this said it all about Tori, her wonderful designs and commitment to excellence.
We are committed to carry on Tori’s designs for all to enjoy along with the excellence she would expect.
Please see Tori’s story below (in her own words).
Where to start…?
I was born in Chicago and grew up spending my summers on the family farm in Kearney, Nebraska. The highlight of which for me was the privilege of cleaning out the dairy barn and horse stalls. My favorite fragrance is still “stable”. During the rest of the year my time was divided between the Art Institute of Chicago, the Lincoln Park Zoo and the riding stables. I cannot remember a time when animals were not just simply a part of my life.
We moved to California when I started high school and I continued my formal education majoring in art in Whittier. Soon after, I began breeding and showing dogs, eventually owning a pet shop, kennel and grooming shop, and trimming and handling some of the top winning show dogs internationally.
Then one day while visiting the local humane shelter, I opened the wrong door and in front of me was a pile of dead animals. This scene turned my whole concept of myself and what I was doing around and I could no longer perpetuate the problem I had just witnessed. I had to find some other way to continue in my chosen field.
The art training and years of direct animal contact came together in the formation of a new career late in 1979. Now there are hundreds of drawings most of which are personal portraits of individual animals. I am continually fascinated with the relationship between people and their pets.
Early in my drawing career I did a portrait of my father-in-law’s long eared friend, Herman who lives in the yard, hee haws and eats cigarettes. This drew the attention of some mule lovers and I found myself emersed in the world of mules. I started one drawing of a mule as a poster for the annual Bishop Mule Days and it ended up as a life size (6 foot) drawing. Since then I’ve done several more of the “big ones” both mules and horses. People’s response to these murals has been overwhelming.
Since my first Bishop Mule show, I’ve traveled to almost every mule and donkey show within reach, often as the official show photographer. A number of these photos are published regularly in the national horsemen’s magazines. The schedule of shows continues to expand with the addition of a few carefully selected art shows each year.
My constant requirements for a standard of excellence in the quality of reproduction of my drawings has led to the formation NOBLE BEASTS GRAPHICS Production Company.
As it is demonstrated by each design name, every face has a personality and a story for me. Part of the uniqueness of these animals is that are not just cold illustrations or “breed standards”. They are individuals, people’s pets, universally recognized by all who love or have ever loved an animal.