Terry Lee Dill was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, he had lived in over thirty-seven states by the age of seven. His father was oil field worker moving from job site to job site and later became a boilermaker. His family finally settled in Iowa. Terry was interested in art at early age. He awarded a series of art scholarships throughout high school at the Des Moines Art Center. After high school he received an apprenticeship in the boilermaker’s union on heavy construction. The first job was working on the first nuclear power plant located in Blair, Nebraska. At the age of 18, Terry became the assistant the head structural engineer on the maincontainment vessel for the nuclear reactor. Within a year, the head engineer, became his mentor had recommended him to return to college.
Terry would continue to work as high rigger and steel connector through the summer months throughout his college career. He received his first Associate Degree in Architectural Engineering, He elected to go back to making art and received a BFA in painting and sculpture with the first art scholarship awarded at Drake University in Iowa. He was offered a full scholarship, teaching assistantship, research grant at the University of Iowa and earned MA and MFA in Sculpture in a three year program. He moved directly to New York City and created a series of small maquettes for large scale sculpture. He later produced a number these sculptures and architectural pieces. They were generally classified constructivism in critical reviews of his work. He was the first person to ever win in two categories from the New York Foundation on the Arts in Fellowships in both sculpture and architecture in the same year and won a third time three years later. He has lectured on his work at fifty different universities and colleges around the country including Stanford, Yale and Harvard, he has had a dozen one-person shows. He moved to Detroit and earned his MA in Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and has taught at College for Creative Studies for over 15 years. He continues to work on commissioned art projects, developing architectural concepts like the new design of the smallest livable house in LA (150sq. ft. for one person). He started project making 100 gold leaf drawings using one word definitions in his studio in LA.