A MAS Update: Larry Thomas

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The Midwest Artist Studios Project has spent the past three years traveling the Midwest interviewing 24 artists from 18 cities/towns. This project has been such a joy to create and to see how these artists have touched the lives of art students through online interactions, emails, and social media.

One of the areas we pride ourselves in is staying in touch with these artists and hearing what they are up to these days? For the next two-months the MAS Project will be spotlighting one of our 24 artists by sharing with you what they are doing in their studio as well as in their communities. 

All three of our MAS publications are now available online.

Click here to buy your copy today!

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Larry Thomas

2016 MAS artist from Kansas

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MAS: In what ways have you benefitted from your participation in MAS?

LT: I think probably the most important element for me, is that I’ve gotten to connect with students again, at least to some degree.  Since I retired I’ve missed sharing my experiences with students.  I can only hope the students, and possibly some teachers, got some exposure as to how I proceed through my work. A lot of what I do with collages is similar to what other artists do, but maybe there is one little tip or approach they weren’t familiar with.

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MAS: In what ways has your work and/or working environment changed since your MAS interview?

LT: Since I’ve been a practicing artist for over 40 years, my studio environment has evolved over that time pretty slowly.  There are some things that are just a part of the routine and ritual that I have developed over a long period of time.  That being said, after I did the lesson plan I feel like I’ve improved and become more efficient in creating my work.  The process of having to organize, research, self-analyze and present my art-making method in a text/photo format was a very good exercise for me.  As Socrates said,  “A life unexamined is not worth living.”  I like to think I’m constantly examining and re-examining myself and everything around me.

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MAS: What is one thing you wish you’d said in your original interview, or what is the one thing that you hope the MAS audience remembers about your and your work?

LT: I always hope that my work is compelling and mysterious in some way, and that its not illustrative or trite.

Looking ahead:

image001Opening June 2017, Larry will have a solo exhibition, So You Think You Know. It will be an immersive installation comprised of hundreds of small collages. He has explored the concepts of perception, deception, invisibility and camouflage, both visually and metaphorically, for over 20 years.  For the Nerman Museum’s Kansas Focus Gallery, he has constructed intimate collages employing traditional means like painting, drawing, and printmaking combined with the more contemporary medium of digitally generated images – each work a response to the barrage of information which engulfs us daily. 

photo credit: Larry Thomas at work in his Olathe, KS studio, courtesy the artist

Visit Larry’s website to see more of his work. 

All images copyright of the artist and used with permission.

 

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Final Thoughts from Frank Juarez: Year 3 MAS Project

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Photo taken in North St. Paul, MN during our first day of road trippin’ in 2014.

My last road trip through the Midwest concluded on July 17, 2016 at approximately 6:00pm (CST). This one was one of the best road trips I’ve had with quite a few challenges during the 2,800+ mile journey. To date I have traveled to 18 cities/towns in 12 states driving 5,000+ miles in the span of a one-week increment during the month of July in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

When the idea of the Midwest Artist Studios Project came about inside my art classroom at Sheboygan North High School back in February of 2014 I never imagined where this would take me as an art educator and how it would change my personal/professional life. I knew that this journey was ambitious so I was fortunate to have worked with such an amazing and dedicated team; Erika Block (writer/editor), Pat Ryan (photographer), and Jonathan Fritsch (assistant). They were there from the beginning to the end no matter how crazy this idea was. This is an experience that I will cherish for a lifetime. I am truly blessed to have them in my life.

The MAS Project aims to connect art education with Midwest contemporary artists through studio visits, curriculum development, and opportunities for educator outreach. 

I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the following artists and arts professionals I met since 2014. 

  • MAS artist, Josh Wilichowski, North St. Paul, MN
  • MAS artist, Vincenzio Donatelle, Minneapolis, MN
  • MAS artist, Jane Ryder, Oskaloosa, IA
  • MAS artist, Jamie Bates Slone, Kansas City, MO
  • MAS artist, Catie Miller, Kansas City, MO
  • MAS artist, Todd Mrozinski, Milwaukee, WI
  • MAS artist, Josie Osborne, Milwaukee, WI
  • MAS artist, Paula Schulze, Shorewood, WI
  • MAS artist, Suzanne Torres, Madison, WI
  • MAS artist, Mellissa Redman, Grand Rapids, MI
  • MAS artist, Kate Robertson, Ann Arbor, MI
  • MAS artist, Jenniffer Omaitz, Kent, OH
  • MAS artist, Ellie Honl, Bloomington, IN
  • MAS artist, Jessica Anderson, Jacksonville, IL
  • MAS artist, Jason Ackman, Rushville, IL
  • MAS artist, Krista Svalbonas, Chicago, IL
  • MAS artist, Emmy Lingscheit, Urbana, IL
  • MAS artist, Karri Dieken, Valley City, ND
  • MAS artist, Sharon Grey, Rapid City, SD
  • MAS artist, Jody Boyer, Omaha, NE
  • MAS artist, Lori Elliott-Bartle, Omaha, NE
  • MAS artist, Rachel Mindrup, Omaha, NE
  • MAS artist, Joe Bussell, Kansas City, KS
  • MAS artist, Larry Thomas, Kansas City, KS
  • Consuelo Cruz, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO
  • Maria Vasquez Boyd, Artspeak Radio, Kansas City, MO
  • Marissa Starke, Kansas City Artists Coalition, Kansas City, MO
  • Beverly Ahern, H & R Block Artspace, Kansas City, MO

This project was supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc (2014-2016).

 

This video is about MAS 2016 artists sharing their thoughts on being our featured artists. Running time: 10:55.

 

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L to R: Frank Juarez, Jonathan Fritsch, MAS artists Karri Dieken, and Ellie Honl in Omaha, NE (2016)

 

MAS 2016 Gallery

 

Click here to view our photos from the road. 

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Get your copy today of the 2014 & 2015 MAS Catalog/Workbook by clicking here