Thomas used acrylic paint on a masonite board for the lifelike painting, which measures a full eight feet tall by seven feet wide. The size of the photo was somewhat strategic in that it was large, but still able to fit through a doorway, Thomas explained. The piece took three weeks; the entirety of Block Four.
“At first I was a bit daunted by the fact that I was going to paint myself as I struggled with what could be perceived as narcissism,” Thomas said. “But after going through the process, I realized that I was my own best model and easiest to work with. Spending three weeks poring over every detail of a photograph of yourself and translating that to canvas does make you see your imperfections, however ” Thomas said with a laugh.
Originally from Elliston, Mont., Thomas graduated from Powell County High School in 2014. He explained he was able to attend Montana Western largely in part due to being a recipient of the Chancellor’s Leadership Scholarship Award. The scholarship covers four years of tuition and is awarded to Montana residents with a minimum cumulative 3.6 grade point average and 26 ACT or 1760 SAT.
In addition to his artwork at UMW, Thomas runs a small business where he takes the photos of people and pets given to him and renders them into charcoal portraits. He is interested in continuing his artistic pursuits and possibly pursuing a career in graphic design.
When asked his plans for the painting, Thomas said he was unsure, but that he was pretty certain it wasn’t going to end up hanging over his own fireplace.
He plans to graduate with a visual arts degree in fall 2017.