Tommy (T.C.) Cannon was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, to a Kiowa father and a Caddo mother. He was given the name Pai-doung-u-day, which translates into "One Who Stands In The Sun," His early life was spent near the Zoltone springs in Southern Oklahoma. As a teenager the family moved to the Gracemount area where he attended the local high school. He displayed a talent for drawing and writing at an early age winning numerous awards for his art work around the Gracemount and Anardako areas.
After graduating from high school, he attended Institute of American Indian Artist in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1964-1966. It was at this school during the "golden age", where he studied alongside other talented artist, such as Earl Biss, Doug Hyde, Linda Lomahaftewa, Sherman Chaddlesone, Parker Boyiddle, Kevin Red Star and Bill Prokopiof, to name a few. At I.A.I.A., his sense of humor in his early works such as "Mama and Popa Have the Going Home to Shiprock Blues.", to his later works appeared to come through. Whether it was an Indian in native garb wearing sunglasses, to an Indian with a Van Gough on the wall of his house. He combined the old traditional art and incorporated it into the so called new world, which became his style of contemporary art.
After graduating from I.A.I.A., he studied briefly at the San Francisco Art Institute. While in San Francisco, he quit school to enlist in the Army. While serving with the 101st airborne in Vietnam, he won numerous metals, including two bronze stars as well as a Metal of Valor from the Vietnamese government.
After being honorably discharged from the army, he attended Central state in Edmond Oklahoma before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was here that his life came to an end on May 8, 1978, in a one car accident. A brilliant mind taken at such an early age.
Though his time to "Stand In The Sun" was brief, he left behind a wealth of work that continues to add to his growing fame, and reputation. His works of art and writings continue to inspire and influence other young artist who have come after him, making him one of the most influential and important artist of the 20th century.