Keith Thomas, Young Liar, 2009. Oil on prepared cardboard.
Most artists I know make work inspired by their personal lives — even if the end product looks so abstract or conceptual that you’d be hard pressed to find evidence of human experience in it. Keith Thomas, perhaps, just takes a more direct route than some from life to canvas — or, in his case, from screen to page.
Since his late teens, Thomas, a recent graduate of the University of South Florida’s BFA program, has made drawings, paintings and installations inspired by his experiences meeting other gay men online. In fact, for all intents and purposes, his Internet-enabled love life is itself a work of art. Whenever he logs into a gay chat site or arranges to meet a guy in real life, Thomas embarks on research — not because he approaches each encounter with the scientific remove of an anthropologist, but because his intimate thoughts and feelings give rise to poetic visual translations of experiential data.
(Wait a minute, I hear you asking: Does that mean every time I jerk off to a photo of a naked, ripped guy online that I, too, am making art? No, honey — only Keith.)
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