Thomas grew up in Bozeman, Montana, where, as a boy, he studied watercolor painting with Susan Blackwood and later oil painting with Howard Friedland. Working from life was important to him, and on trips with his family to Yellowstone Park, he often stopped to draw the bison while out hiking or walking along the boardwalks by the geysers. It was on one of these outings that Thomas and his father had a surprise visit (and a near miss) from a huge bull buffalo, a formative experience that shaped a lifelong respect and awe for these magnificent creatures.
In the fall of 2003, during an exchange semester in Rome with the Tyler School of Arts, he studied painting and drawing with Stanley Whitney and Marina Adams and printmaking with Mario Teleri Biason. From the standpoint of visual arts, he describes those three months as the most prolific and creative of his life to that point. Always passionate for the creative arts, he has a Bachelor’s in English from Brown University and a MFA in creative writing from Boston University. Thomas now resides in Seattle as an artist, where he lives with his wife and son.
I want my paintings to be paintings in the most physical sense: objects: canvases covered in pigment and oil: brushed on, spattered on, scraped with a palette knife. I want the materials to be prominent and the techniques evident, working together to attract and hold the attention of the viewer, visually foremost, but also imaginatively, inquisitively, and emotionally. To me at least, this performance of the physical object in the mind of the viewer is the real abstraction accomplished by art.