Painter Thom Reaves Creates "Lighthearted Imagery of Joy"
From Bipolar Disorder to Poster Style Paintings of Joy
This article originally appeared on ArtistCareerTraining.com.
There is often additional information on the recording that is not in this written interview. Inspire yourself and listen while you make art.
My primary goal in these interviews is to inspire you with stories of people who make a living making art and who consider it a "real job." Your art and your career may be on a different path, but there is always something to learn from the experience of your colleagues.
Thom Reaves discovered his love for creating by making paper dolls and folded paper trucks. When young Thom would go on long rides with his father, he became fascinated with the graphics on gas station signs and road maps, which seeded the inspirations of his later artistic life. Signs, symbols and billboards birthed an interest in graphics and posters, which have become the signature style of his work.
Thom majored in graphic design, receiving his bachelor’s degree in communications design from Pratt Institute in 1988. After working for a number of years as a neon sign designer in New York, he returned to his hometown of Trenton, NJ. There he began to produce his art, initially expressing himself through intricate pen & ink drawings. When a gallerist suggested the introduction of color into his work, Thom began painting. The new focus on color reignited his love of vintage posters, a visual style which he then chose as the avenue of his self-expression. Uplifting imagery became the framework of a long-running series of works based on play with words, locations and objects.
Thom has flourished in the continuation of his stylized poster like images, earning him the privilege of showing his work in numerous group and solo shows. His designs have graced the surfaces of fine writing instruments and luxury items for Acme Studios of Hawaii, sold in boutiques around the world and his work is licensed for art reproductions. Thom was also a featured artist, painting an entire room of an Art hotel in Miami Beach, FL. and he collaborated with a trendy home design company, lending his images to fashion accessories. Thom creates works for numerous commissions and portraits, having produced artwork for homes and businesses in the US and Japan. In addition to his painting, Thom writes children’s stories and has written and produced an episodic, web-based drama.
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