Words About Paintings
Due to popular demand, or constroctive critisism and requests for narratives
on works, this page will attempt to offer insight to John Thomas' works.
In whatever expression an artist must have a voice, a way of expressing ideas. Musicians
combine intruments in arrangements, add lyrics, and then perform in front of thousands of people; photographers capture a
moment in time; performance artists work tirelessly through corriographed arrangements that offer visual entertainment
and express emotion through movements and expressions of their body. Charles Bukowski wrote about drinking, smoking,
and fucking; hard living and some people may be offended, but he put it out there in simple yet eloquent arrangement
of words. Surfers, such as Kelly Slater, have learned to express themselves through riding waves that nature provides
in an effortless manor. Painters and sculptors used to be commissioned by the church to give visuals of the ideas
being presented in order help people associate.... Michealangelo! Contemporary visual artist express themselves through
arranging vast medias and mediums now available. Regardless of the form of art, it is the artist job to offer their way
of expression to provoke the audience.
Eyes are said to be "the doorways
to the soul." Sure. At a glance they can tell us about a new aquaintence, they tell us the mood or feelings of
our friends and loved ones- without words; welcome or not, they provide an ability to see and be seen.
This allows for infinate possibilities and interpretations in my works.
Lips are incorporated because they,
also, offer unlimited possibilities; as do eyes, they can convey moods or feelings- happiness, sorrow, joy, grit, and they
can speak. However, visually, I like their shapes and luster.
Faces combine elements in my work. Rarely
presented as whole, rather in fragments that could make a whole; One
eye seen as part of a portrait combined with another in profile form. The faces address ways that we view our surroundings
and the idea of how we are perceived. This is expressed through color selection, arrangement of images/ objects,
mediums, composition, and scale.
Regarding scale; I typically prefer to
work in larger formats. Painting is a very physical interaction with canvas for me, therefor, being limited
to small scale seems too controlled and limiting. This is where giclee printing comes in handy!
are narratives on early works of which several are found on this site. Links will be added in the
Las Vegas Painting: This painting was inspired during one
of those brilliant visits to sin city. I do enjoy Las Vegas for what it is. I find it fascinating, actually.
The idea that all that is unacceptable in society’s normal behavioral standards is encouraged in Las Vegas. I
like walking across the street from one establishment to the next with my cocktail, safely, in my hand. If you’re
into drugs, that too seems to be the norm as long as you are somewhat discreet; don’t do lines on the hood of the Police
car when an officer is sitting in it. Prostitution is illegal, however, a good portion of the phone book is filled with
“escorts.” Why don’t they appoint a street section in town, perhaps like Amsterdam, where women of
this profession are in storefront windows, call a spade a spade and stop fucking around? It is not as if people do not
know what is going on! That is what people go there for. And the people who live there and keep this industry
going? Bless them. The elderly ones sitting at the craps table after their shift, still in their respected uniforms,
smoking a cigarette; they look broken and tired. The younger ones beautiful and dressed to the nines, in black, they
look tired too, in the early mornings, before “bedtime.”
Anyway, we were in this club, appropriately
named “Utopia.” The line out the door would take you most of the evening, unless, you are with one of those
beautiful residents whom knows the doorman…. . Inside, well Utopia! People dancing in cages that were placed
around the dance floor, doing whatever, clothes optional. It was all happening in there. Later, I found myself
upstairs. I was talking with a friend. We were watching this couple interact (at least it looked like they were
going to be a couple that evening!). She had a long skirt on. She was dancing, spinning around, smiling, and enjoying
herself. As she did this great spin, looking like Marilyn Monroe, the air conditioner vent caught her skirt and
all was revealed, including the vision for Las Vegas Painting. I immediately drew the sketch in a matchbook. The
idea that this entertainment Mecca that rose out of the dirt and tumbleweeds as a man’s fantasy vision, his creation
and all that Las Vegas stands for all came to me at once. The excess, greed, and wealth created in the middle of this
desert, no wear, really, seams so unlikely to me. This painting represents my understanding of the false sense of reality
that Las Vegas was created to serve as.
Titled----3 Je Pense This painting began as several drawings. Once started,
it took some time for the painting to become what it wanted to be. In French, je pense means I think. It
is often painful to think, (but it sure feels good to paint)
Petite Amie Girlfriend in French. Drawings for this painting were composed
prior to meeting my girlfriend. As the painting was composed our relationship began. When the painting was finished
people were asking me if was her. It was not consciously created to portray her, yet it is unquestionably her.
I think it represents her quite well especially her intensity.
Trouve Le Satisfaction Mais, J’essay) I was waiting
with friends to take a ferry to L’Isle de Paquerol which is in sight from the mainland in the south of France.
It is a beautiful little island just off the coast near Marsaille. There are no cars on the island! It is a great
place to go for a day trip and relax. As we waited for the ferry I looked down at my boarding ticket then at the island
and thought how beautiful it was, how fortunate I was to be there, yet I was still not satisfied I wrote the words “never
satisfied” on the back of my ticket. Several months later I was back in the states and I had a few lines on a
piece of paper which led to the painting. The chaotic application of the paint represents my inability to ever be satisfied.
Perhaps in the future, although a recent version is nearing completion….
Gone to Carolina Often I find inspiration through music. This
is the first representation of ongoing ideas revealed to me through song. Songwriters have the ability to share their
words and ideas with great audiences, which influences many facets of our society, and in many cases, bridges gaps between
foreign cultures. We may not all speak the same language, however, nearly all modern societies are conscious of music.
I usually find phrases in songs that are thought- provoking. I have interest in diverse kinds of music, which allows
me to gather ideas from various perspectives. Shamefully, I believe that many people who have wonderful gifts and talents
may go unrecognized in the future. Contemporary music seems driven only by corporate greed rather than musical merit
or talent. “Boy bands” appear to be arranged in five, post- pubescent no- talent mother- fuckers, girls in groups
of three, or as one, sexy, young and blond. Fortunately for us, a talented few continue to slide through. I liked what was visually
presented when I thought of these words in color. “ Karen she’s a silver sun, you’d better walk her
way and watch her shine, watch the morning come.” I think sun and I see yellow, or orange, not silver! The
title of the song is Gone to Carolina. By the way, I have never, physically, been to Carolina. Only… in
This is a difficult one for me to express in words. I have completed several pieces using American flags as the canvas
and each one reveals new thoughts and emotions. It is the American flag for fuck sake! It is not intended for some unappreciative
young “artist” to deface! I realize this.I was taught somewhere in some pre-law course that law makes law. And art
makes art? Or is it that art responds to art as well as contemporary issues. Jasper Johns chose subjects that
were “familiar”: targets, numbers, flags. He claimed that this solved his problem of choosing subject matter
and they were easily identifiable by the viewer. However, rather than representing a familiar image, I prefer to use
the actual item. Found objects have always been incorporated into my work. I enjoy the idea that this object started
as something and rather than being discarded it has a new purpose. In this case it is the flag. I had some discarded
flags in my ‘bone yard.’ I had rescued them after they had done their service and were apparently no longer
suitable. I knew that they had a future. It just took a while for that future to be discovered, especially given
the sensitive ideals that the “canvas” represents. This piece was inspired by the corruption, incompetence,
and general disregard that we the public continually tolerate from the government officials that are elected to serve the
communities in our cities, states, and our country. Additionally considered were issues that I find concerning in our
society including family values, education and what we call “progress.” I felt that in many ways our country
was in distressed and often chaotic state. I chose to render the flag upside down. I later found out that an upside
down flag used to be a distress signal. Perfect.
I should mention that I feel
fortunate to be an American, however, I also believe that we have a great deal of growing to do, as individuals and as communities
before we will truly realize our full potential. No country which I have visited in my travels is perfect, yet it seems
that many of them get along better as communities and have higher qualities of life. They are less concerned with the
American farce of “getting ahead” and more conscious of enjoying living.
In the Window This continuing series began as a result of many windows given
to me from a contractor friend. He had refurbished an old home and remembered that I was looking for some glass or windows
to incorporate into paintings. The idea here is exactly what you see. Most men will take any occasion to “sneak
a peek” given the opportunity. If they say something to the contrary they are in denial or lying. I believe
that it is our natural instinct as men.
My vision for the pieces in this series is of young
men seeing something that they were not intended (or were they?) to be witness to. The figure in the window is larger
than life because at younger ages we seem to perceive women this way. Besides the window being a physical barrier of
separation, it also represents the psychological challenge that a young man will face of “how do I get invited in there?”
Think and Feel, 1998 This painting continues the theme of how we feel verses how
we portray ourselves and are perceived by from others.