Born in the United states, 1986, Kalin Thomas currently resides in Burlington, Vermont. He attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver to study linguistics, and upon graduating in 2010, moved to Australia with his wife, Lee-Anna, where his focus eventually shifted towards painting.
As an artist, Thomas is self-taught but cites his linguistics background as being formative. His current work explores the intensity of human relationships and how value systems change over time. The style displays a fascination with early Italian painting even drawing from historical and mythological sources; however, the position differs noticeably. He blurs boundaries with traditional treatments and a subtle discrepancy is revealed between what we think we see and what is actually in front of us. His newer work suggests a decidedly contemporary influence.
Thomas’s paintings have the feeling of being carefully considered; projects can sometimes even span several years. Although broken up into many small tasks, each work goes through at least three distinct stages during its creation: composition, panel construction, and painting.
The composition stage involves intensely engaging with the idea: spending time writing, reading, drawing, and studying from other disciplines in an attempt to grasp the true nature of the sentiment. This can take months, but from it, abstract shapes begin to emerge and condense into something tangible. During these stretches, he spends a great deal of time alone systematically working through each new problem that arises out of the process.
Building the panel is a ritual which has evolved with his practice and marks the transition between composing and painting. Currently, each panel is made by hand from marine-grade Okoume mahogany plywood and hand-selected, locally milled poplar. Thomas designs the cradle to meet the specific characteristics of each board. The surface is prepared with linen and primed with a traditional animal-skin gesso in preparation for painting.
Thomas discusses the painting stage as if it were an extension of the composition process. He doesn't seem to follow any standard methodology, and each picture receives different treatment based on the demands of the work. In his most recent project, he has chosen to paint smaller scale test-panels which address what he calls “fundamental artistic problems.” This allows for a more direct approach and enhances the impact of the final work. One could easily mistake them for finished pieces, and although the larger panels are still in progress, you can see these test-panels on view with his other paintings in the gallery section (2015-2016).
His studio practice teeters between bold experimentation and careful workmanship. He may spend hours developing a small section only to wipe it out again or paint over it soon after. This sometimes dramatic back-and-forth characterizes the feeling of his pictures, but it also suits his personality. If you look carefully at the surface of his paintings, you can catch a glimpse of the artist behind them.
Thomas is an enthusiastic teacher and enjoys a rotating cast of students and apprentices through his studio.
Inquiries about commissions or teaching can be directed through the “Contact” page.