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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ARTSPEAK RADIO live with Midwest Artist Studios Project founder, Frank Juarez, MAS artists Joe Bussell and Larry Thomas

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Text and audio courtesy of Artspeak Radio. 

This interview was aired on August 17 at noon. 

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MAS artists, Larry Thomas and Joe Bussell — Photo courtesy of Maria Vasquez Boyd

Founder of Midwest Artist Studio (MAS) Frank Juarez joins Maria by phone with artsts/educators Joe Bussell, and Larry Thomas. 

Frank Juarez-Art Educator + Founder Midwest Artist Studios-MAS, “The project I designed is called the Midwest Artist Studios (MAS) Project. This project connects two areas-contemporary art and art education. The thought of traveling the Midwest and the idea of visiting studios was overwhelming. I knew I would not be able to do it alone so I was able to put together a team of art enthusiasts, Erika Block, writer, photographer Pat Ryan, and Jonathan Fritsch assistant.”

The Midwest Artist Studios™ Project is a three summer project established by a Wisconsin high school art educator, Frank Juarez. A team consisting of a photographer, writer, and assistant will travel the Midwest visiting contemporary visual artists who embrace the importance of Art Education, believe that their art experience was influenced or shaped by their K-12 Art Education and are following their artistic dream of art making. These visits will encompass a close and personal approach into the studio life of an artist. Artists will not only talk about their engagement in their art processes, but also discuss their rigorous work schedule, daily commitments, work ethic, artistic vision; to name a few.

After each summer the MAS Team will be creating a catalog and a curriculum workbook, which will contain lesson plans that compliment and reinforce the artists’ contemporary art practices. These lesson plans can be used to reinforce, supplement, or become an art curriculum for grades 6-12. A blog will house the MAS Team’s journey, behind the scenes footage, reflections, and photographs.

Our audience is very diverse just like this project. The Midwest Artist Studios™ Project will benefit anyone interested in Contemporary Art, Art Education, technology, social media, National Visual Arts Standards, and Literacy. We envision public, private art educators, home schools, core educators, IMC specialists, administration, districts, artists, professors and students utilizing this resource.

Artsts/educators from Kansas Joe Bussell and Larry Thomas, Karrie Dieken (North Dakota), Sharon Grey (South Dakota), Judy Boyer, Rachel Mindrup and Lori Elliott-Bartle (Nebraska), participated in the current MAS project.

Click the image to access interview

Click the image to access interview

Click here to hear the interview with Frank, Joe, and Larry.