12 Apr Artist Spotlight: Andy Thomas
Although Andy Thomas has been passionate about being an artist since his childhood, it was just recently that this native Charlottean began pursuing a career in art. In fact, it wasn’t until 2017 that he began sharing his art with the rest of the world.
Andy started out drawing cartoon characters and the images he saw in his comic books. He always thought of himself as more of an illustrator than a painter. He continued to develop his skills in high school and then decided to go to UNC Charlotte and focus on Illustration, Graphic Design and Art History. After separating himself from art for several years, Andy began painting commission dog portraits as a way of reintroducing himself to art. He quickly discovered that finding fun, creative ways to portray the dogs was much more gratifying.
When did you start your career in art? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?
Art has always been a passion for as long as I can remember. My mother has shared stories about giving me crayons and paper as a small child and setting me on the floor where I would be occupied for hours. In my adolescent years, I had a large collection of comics. The condition of the comics were often compromised as I used them as a tool for learning how to draw the Hulk, Wolverine and Batman. By the time I was in high school, I knew that it was imperative for me to pursue art in some fashion. That’s when I decided to go to UNC Charlotte to focus on Illustration, Graphic Design and Art History.
Describe your aesthetic in 3 words…
Witty, Vibrant, Fun
Describe your artistic process and preparation?
When I come across an idea, I often spend hours or even days expanding and developing the idea to make it better. Sometimes I will combine several sketches and photos in Photoshop or Illustrator for composition purposes. For me, it is a convenient way to create reference material so I have a defined plan before drawing it out on a large surface. I then improvise color and value to depict the concept that I’m trying to establish.
Favorite piece you’ve created to date and why?
“Golden Glasses” is important to me because it was the first piece I did after taking a long hiatus. It was a reminder that art has always been an important part of my life and I owe it to myself and those who have supported me to make art and painting a priority in my life again.
Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?
I’ve always been a huge fan of several children’s book illustrators. Chris Van Allsburg, David Wiesner and Mark Teague are a few of my favorites. These illustrators inspired me to draw as a young child and I still admire their work today as I read to my two young sons. The interest that my boys have in seeing me create art is also inspiring.
Favorite location to create/what is your studio like?
I created a space in my garage that allows me to paint freely and on large surfaces without the worries of making a permanent mess. When the weather is too hot or too cold, I often paint in our master bathroom to the discontent of my lovely and supportive wife.
One thing you couldn’t live without?
My family…and beer!
Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years?
I’ve always wanted to illustrate a children’s book. It’s something that I haven’t yet pursued, but it’s definitely on my bucket list.