Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2012 Artists Series Featuring an Interview with Larry Thomas

Larry Thomas is an artist whose works draw you in; not a mere passing glance, as you stop & want to look deeper to find other mesmerizing details to explore.

I do hope you enjoy the following interview!

When and how did you first realize that you wanted to paint and create art?
I think I was about 7 years old when I really started having a lot of fun drawing and painting.  I always drew a lot, and still do.  Most children begin to turn their interests to other things by the time they are 8 or 9, but I continued to have a keen interest in art all through elementary, junior high, high school, and college.  And of course that continues today.

 Where did you study?
Missouri State University – BFA – Drawing/Printmaking
University of Iowa – MA – Printmaking/Drawing
University of Iowa – MFA – Printmaking/Drawing

Larry, you have become extremely well known for your particular genre in the field of art; how did that evolve? What are some of the materials you like to use in your paintings?That is very flattering, but I’m not sure I’m really all that well known. 

My work is fairly abstract, but it contains representational elements.  The interest in combining the abstract with the realistic goes back to undergraduate school.  I think it is a very tricky thing to do, but feel our world is a combination of the two, so have pursued that ever since.

I became interested in computers about 30 years ago.  At first I didn’t think they had much to do with what I was wanting to do.  The hardware and software were fairly crude by today’s standards, and the materials were very fugitive.  The printers, paper, and ink weren’t initially made to be archival.  I don’t think many manufacturers thought about fine artists using digital technology back then.  However, in the last 15 years or so, there have been dramatic changes and advances in all things digital.  

So, around 15 years ago I became very interested in what digital imaging could do.  It allowed me to make images that I couldn’t create before.  I don’t particularly like the way an image prints straight on to paper.  It seems to have a poster quality to it that I don’t like.  So I usually incorporate paint, collaged paper, and real objects into the painting.  Hopefully, those elements peak the viewers interest, and they notice and are made aware of their own perceptions about what they are looking at.  That is, in part, what my work is all about...perception and questioning what we perceive.

Where do you derive much of your inspiration; Nature, photography, thoughts or images?  Tell us what past or current artists inspire or have been mentors…. 

My work primarily derives from my own life experiences combined with research and reading.

I suppose the first artist that comes to mind is Willem de Kooning.  I have always admired his work.  I’ve had a lot of teachers along the way and each one has given me ideas and inspiration in some way.  I have great respect for the professors I teach with and many of the young artists in Kansas City are very inspiring.  They are taking chances in uncharted territory and reshaping what we think of as art.

When did the desire to teach become a passion?
I would probably say I have a passion for art, and hope that passion carries over into my teaching.  I come from a family of teachers, so it seemed like a natural direction for me to go.

I think the real passion for art came around the time I was a junior in college.  I was always interested in art up until then, but I made some work that year that I felt was really starting to be mine and not just derivative of other artists

Your position at Johnson County Community College is Chair of the Arts Department. The effect that you have on students is incredible…why would you say that is?  How do you inspire them as artists to open their minds to creativity?
 Again, that is very flattering, but I’m not sure how true that is.  

Of course, I would like to think that I have a very positive effect on students.  I try to help students delve into themselves and express who they are and what they believe in.  I try to be very honest and fair.  I attempt to challenge  students and show them they have more capabilities than they realize or think they have.  I think the most important thing a teacher can do is show students how to learn on their own.  

Larry what artist’s organizations and establishments are you involved in? 

I’ve been a long time member of the Nelson-Atkins Museum, I have served on the board of the Kansas City Artists Coalition and been a member of that organization for over 20 years, I contribute regularly to the Charlotte Street Foundation, and have been fortunate enough to be a facilitator for the Artist Inc. Development Workshops sponsored by The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, The Charlotte Street Foundation, The UMKC Innovation Center, and Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers.

I know that you are represented by the esteemed Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art Gallery…Where else are you currently showing your art and what exhibits are planned for the near future?
 I currently have an exhibit of paintings at Sherry Leedy entitled, Material Abstraction: Crypsis and Seductive Chaos which will be showing until August 18th, 2012.  I have 10 prints in the 2012 Kansas City Flatfile which will be up until September 29th, 2012, and I have two prints in a traveling exhibition that opened in New Delphi, India entitled Multiple Encounters Second Edition which will travel to a variety of venues through 2013. 

Finally Larry, what comments or words of wisdom do you have for an aspiring artist of any age?

I think that if you can do anything else you should.  I don’t think being an artist is for those that aren’t passionate, curious, and have an incredible work ethic.  You need to be ready to make lots of sacrifices and be prepared to be rejected often. 

Larry thank you so much for participating in The 2012 Artists Series! Larry can be reached at larry [@] 

Enjoy the brief video below for more insight into Thomas' art and paintings!

Thank you to my Friends and Family. Your encouragement and  comments are very much appreciated!
Art by Karena


Splendid Sass said...

Thank you so much for sharing this talented artist. I love his work!
I hope that you are doing well. You have really been through it this past year.
Happy Wednesday.

Simply LKJ said...

Thanks for sharing Karena. Love the textures of his paintings. Hope you are doing well after surgery.

The enchanted home said...

Very intersting work...thats the beauty of art, the self expression...and how wonderful to know what he wanted to do in life at the ripe old age of 7! Thats one thing I admire so much about artists...their unwavering passion. Thanks for sharing Karena and so hope you are feeling great!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning, Karena! I am glad to see you up and running here! You are always so gracious and generous to feature artists and other people whose creativity shines. THANK YOU!!! BE WELL, Anita

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Glad you are feeling better, Karena! I enjoyed this post and your did an excellent job with the interview. I have forwarded it to my best friend who is an art teacher. Take care of yourself!

Pura Vida said...

I love art and artists are work

French said...

Been trying to reach you to see how you are doing....Ready to send your package off and hope you will be home to receive it. I find this interview incredible, his passion from the age of seven! Though the last comment makes me laugh. Be well, thinking of you~

Acquired Objects said...

Thank you for sharing Larry's work with us Karena. His work does draw you in and makes you look. I used to paint but other creative things keep me busy maybe time to pick up my brushes again.


Melissa Blake said...

Awesome interview, Karena!! He's so talented...beyond words!! xoxo

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Karena, I am enjoying your Artist series and the great interviews. Take care.

Burlap Luxe said...

Thank you Karena, for taking the time to visit me :)

Larry's work is so ever evolving, taking on the paint and movement of the piece that speaks so many different languages in how one looks at it.
It so altering in many ways, and one might think that this is not something that captures my attention, I find a free spirit here and that alone catches my attention.

I would love to see his work in person so I could understand the beginning and how he came to this ending of his pieces of art that so inspire ones soul.

so nice to see your wide range of artistic interests over here :)

See you soon, I have been like crazy painting, sewing for Christmas, Yes you heard right Christmas. If I don't get it doing in Augest then I will never catch up and have any holiday goodie for my shop, and my etsy shop :)

See you soon.

Renée Finberg said...

i think it is very interesting.
there are a few artist in maine who diddle in this art form.

i can''t wait to get into an art class!!

hope you are getting better xox

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

Wow! Larry is extremely talented. I love his work. Thanks for sharing. On another note...Did you have surgery again? Have a great weekend. Mona

vicki archer said...

Thanks so much for sharing this interview Karena...Larry's work is fantastic...happy weekend xv

Ivy Lane said...

Very interesting post/interview! Thank you for sharing! Happy Weekend!

Unknown said...

Karena, I love this interview. His art is so amazing. Thank you for sharing another wonderful artist.
Have a great weekend.
xo Nancy

carolyn bradford said...

What a talented artist! His work is amazing! We went to the Art Walk in Seaside last night ( they have it the first friday of every month) and it was wonderful! I certainly hope you are feeling better…I didn't know you had another surgery! I'm so sorry and hope you are on the mend! Thanks again for sharing this incredible talent!

annechovie said...

Thank you for sharing Larry's uniquely detailed work. I hope that you enjoy your weekend. xx

K&B by the Sea said...

Larry's artwork is really cool. I like how he combines his images with real objects to create his colourful art. Very creative idea :-)

Katherines Corner said...

Karena, thank you so much for introducing us to him. xo

bean bags online said...

Larry's works are incredibly amazing. You would never give it a mere passing glance in a gallery. It draws you in. That's how majestic it is.

Thea Beasley said...

I'm having a mental health day, and catching up, finally on blog reading. So many treasures here. Thank you so for so many gifts!
xx T

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

A wonderful post. I am always interested in learning about what motivates artists, and where they learn their craft.

Thanks you for sharing!


Segreto Secrets said...

Really great interesting post--Wonderful art! I hope you are feeling better!! Best to you--xo Leslie

Renae Moore said...

Wow...what interesting work he does!
I wish I wish I could paint. My son and I have been playing around a little bit with some acrylic!

Hope you are doing well!


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

GOOD MORNING MY DEAR!!!! Oh thank you for your visit Karena, and DO HOPE you are feeling well! How are you?????

I bet you would enjoy my new wands. The ballet wands are really fun and have a different shape now on the torso. The paper is exquisite and I am just having so much fun!!!!

ENJOY! Anita

Best Business Brands said...

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vicki archer said...

I do so admire the talent of artists... their vision and ability to execute their ideas so beautifully... Hope you are well Karena... xv

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

What an amazing talent!!! His students certainly are privileged to have such a great teacher!

Bring Pretty Back said...

Karena - What a great interview! I LOVE how he knew at 7!!! What passion and talent!
Have a pretty day!

designchic said...

What a wonderful interview with such a talented artist. Love the colors and textures in his work. So hope you are feeling better!

Mise said...

I hope you are doing well there, Karena. I admire very much how you keep going and focus on others amid your own surgeries, and am sure the distraction helps you get by. Very many good wishes.

Taylor Greenwalt said...

What a talented and interesting artist. Love his use of different materials. Very fun!

Fashion-isha said...

I love the movement and color in these paintings! Have a great weekend!

Leslie said...

Hi Karena,

Wonderful interview and video! Some much intensity and emotion in his work. It's always interesting to see how artists express their emotions on a canvas!

Enjoy your weekend.

Jennifer said...

His work is amazing! Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview!

Fairfield House said...

What a wonderful interview. I liked his honest words of wisdom about being an artist (at the end). I think all too often the arts are pursued by people who see it as an easy option. It is anything but that.
Your Friend,

Tammy @ A Walk in the Countryside said...

I enjoyed the interview! Blessings, Tammy

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Francine Gardner said...

I really enjoy your series of interview with artists. it is so fascinating to read their thoughts and then look at the art, try to understand the origin of the creative process. i hope you are fairing well and recuperating.
I am sending all good thoughts your way, Francine

Liz.Blog said...

Very inspiring. Thank you for posting!

Mimi said...

What a great interview with a Great artist!!!!I will have to check out that art work next time I am in La Jolla......that would be nice to see

Renée Finberg said...

i think i LOVE his work.
i wish i could paint like that!

hows that hip?

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