Earnest D. Thomas: Identities
Recently featured in BIMA’s 2019 Black History Month group exhibition, Earnest D. Thomas reflects stories through his abstract lens. This Seattle artist is inspired by lifelong pursuits in art, architecture, industrial design, and collecting ethnic art—especially from Africa. These influences inform his paintings and mixed media works, including those from repurposed wine barrels.
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ABOUT THE ARTIST: EARNEST D. THOMAS
Earnest D. Thomas grew up in Hempstead, Texas. He has had a strong interest in art and architecture since childhood. After receiving an electrical engineering degree from Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, Texas), he worked for the Boeing Company in various engineering and management assignments.
His interest in art has been strongly influenced through collecting ethnic art from across the world. The vast majority of his collection comes from the continent of Africa. One specific passion has been researching old African trade beads. This interest—plus a challenge from his wife—inspired him to design and make jewelry utilizing beads, some of which have been dated to the 1500s.
A challenge from an artist friend encouraged him to more seriously explore fine art painting. The more Thomas explores, the more he finds satisfaction in the creative process using paint and other objects. Earnest utilizes his engineering and industrial design sense, plus experience in jewelry design, to create 2-D and 3-D paintings.
Thomas often uses texture, color and shadow from metal rod, sheet and plate to play together in his images. His work ranges from organic to modern industrial in concept. Thomas notes, “Artistic expression is infinite, with new approaches being defined daily. The creative envelope must continue to be refreshed.”
Thomas is the president of Onyx Fine Arts in Seattle, WA. His art is regularly shown at Gallery Onyx, located in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood.