The Spinner Paintings:

Below are The Spinner Paintings that I created in college. These were experimental works that I created as a first step towards interactive and installation type painting. Each painting was 3′ x 3′ in size and had two paintings on it, one on each side of the 2″ x 4″ stretcher bars. The stretcher bars had large dowel rods in each of the four sides of the paintings, and each painting had a stand that I had specifically designed for these works which allowed them to work as an installation piece that would allow the paintings to be viewed at various angles and rotated in numerous ways.

Whistler
Whistler © 1998 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting
Da Vinci
Da Vinci © 1998 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting
Matisse
Matisse © 1998 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting
Mondrian
Mondrian © 1998 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting
Van Eyck
Van Eyck © 1998 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting

Degas
Degas © 1998 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting

I feel that in many ways these works were sort of my way of showing an appreciation for the art and artists that these works were portraits of (and simultaneously emulations of) in much the way that many of Red Grooms works showed an appreciation for other artists by emulating them.

Table from the BFA Exhibition

Table from the BFA Exhibition
Table from the BFA Exhibition © 1999 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting
This Work was one of several in a series I created for my BFA exhibition back in 1999. The BFA show was based on images from my dreams that I tried to remember via a dream journal/sketchbook. I’m not exactly sure what the symbol on the paper that the hands are holding means, but it was a part of the dream that I remember in detail, along with the composition of the painting including that window in the distance that sort of backlit the room, making it difficult to make out the details of the features on the individuals in the meeting room. The framing of the room is odd looking as the walls don’t seem to match up, but that too was a part of the dream.

In many of my dreams the architecture and location of images in a composition I see in detail seem to have some sort of deep and profound meaning to me. At the time that I created the BFA show I was studying Carl Jung’s theories on dream archetypes. I believe that both a location in a dream as well as the individuals can become archetypes. That is why we have dreams that are located in the same, or very similar settings multiple times throughout our lifetime.

I do not practice magic or the black arts (well at least not directly even though art creation itself is a bit of a magical act in some ways), but do sometimes read about these things as they interest me somewhat since they are sort of related to psychology and art history, both of which are topics I have a lot of interest in…

I think that new age ideas about astral kingdoms created via meditation practices are directly related to lucid dreaming techniques that we all experience at some point in our lives and that the architecture, objects, and figures (archetypes) we see and interact with in our dreams can play somewhat of a major role in the worldview and in that way can psychologically help us alter the world around us… but it’s not truly ‘magic’ – it’s psychological manipulation and self therapy techniques that can alter the way we think about the world as the objects, places, and things in our dreams are really our subconscious thought patterns communicating with our conscious brain, picking up patterns and connections that we may never have noticed before, allowing us to become aware of things in a new light that we have not seen them before consciously, etc. Dreams can and do play a role in our waking world realities every day whether we acknowledge it or not.

Below 250 lbs!

Well, the weigh in today shows that I’ve lost about 17 lbs since last weigh in a little over 40 days ago! I can finally officially say I weigh less than 250 lbs. I have not been exercising a lot, but have taken on a job that has me on my feet all day doing a lot of bending, lifting, and other types of moving. I had noticed that my old pants waist line was looking way to huge so figured it’s time to do a weigh in.

It’s an evening job, and the pay’s not all that great, but at least it is full-time and apparently it literally is causing me to “work my ass off” so it’s not all that bad… kinda nice to get paid to workout so to speak instead of paying some gym.

The last couple of days I’ve been doing a little bit of a workout before work too, mainly aerobic stuff with a wii like Just Dance, or some simple little aerobic exercise tape, etc. If I can keep that up consistently and keep the job at least a few months, perhaps I can get below the ‘red line’ that was my original goal target before I slacked off a while back and had to create that second ‘goal line’… It’d be nice to actually be able to get to my bmi weight, especially now that the young one is on the way in a little over a month. Got to get in shape to keep up with the young ones.

http://sketchbookphotosshotjanuary2013.shutterfly.com/

http://sketchbookphotosshotjanuary2013.shutterfly.com/ – a few more photo of the sketchbooks taken today. I used the 1000 watt light (it’s really two 500 watt halogen bulbs) to light it. I think that helped the white get a bit more white than the last batch. This is a continuation of the sketchbook shot in the last batch and the start of a second one. These sketchbooks were mostly from college and a few years after that. Some of the portraits in them are actually of people I quickly did sketches of at various summer jobs during college, etc. I didn’t get a bunch done in this round of photos since that 1000 watt light is extremely hot. The wall near where the light was sitting as I shot these was still hot to the touch about 15 minutes after I turned the light off! I can’t do extended several hour long photo shoots with that light in that enclosed of a space. It’s too dangerous as a fire hazzard and also a danger on my health since it really drains me standing about two feet from that light as I shoot these sketches.

After I get a lot of these sketchbooks uploaded, I probably won’t do a bunch more unless I scan them or photograph them as I create them… something I didn’t do much in the past, which is why there’s such a big backlog.

I suspect a bunch of work in the near future will actually start digital and stay digital most of the way through since I recently got got an android tablet for Christmas and just in the last week or so installed Sketchbook Pro on it as an ‘early’ birthday gift. I’m starting to learn to love that app…

Notice some of the ‘yellow’ on the backside of the sketches… I suspect that ballpoint pen ink does that since it’s acidic even though the pages of the paper is non-acidic. Scary stuff. Makes me really glad that I’m actually taking the time to start shooting some of these before they decay even more in a few decades because of that type of thing.

http://january2013scanphotographartetc.shutterfly.com/

http://january2013scanphotographartetc.shutterfly.com/ – link to a little bundle of pics I uploaded to shutterfly tonight. Most of them are ancient sketchbooks from the late 1990s, but the acrylic paintings, encaustic paintings and photos are very recent stuff.

I might crop some of them and put them here on the blog later. Some of them are multiples of the same image because I like to shoot several pics of one work and pick the best of them with fewest blurs, bad contrast, etc. for various things. I’m not sure – I may have scans of some of these somewhere in the blog already?… Oh well, multiple images of the same thing isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Lighting was not very good on many of these… I was using interior lighting and that’s never good for shooting art. It’s too cold to go outside, and I don’t trust the wind outside when shooting photos of artwork on paper since paper tends to catch in the wind too easily. A few years back (a couple of months before we moved out of Boonville) I did try to shoot a bunch of artwork outside and a lot of it got caught in a big gust of wind. The same day a wind gust knocked over the tripod and busted the screw connector at the bottom of the camera that was on the tripod at the time. That poor camera finally died on me about a month ago or so… it’s had a hard life. I haven’t thrown it out yet in hopes that maybe it will get some life again someday… (I think something’s gone wrong with the battery connection or something).

Shooting photos of art is much faster than trying to scan them. I also scanned a bunch of my ‘morning pages’ today from the last year or so. I have not consistently done that every day, but there’s still a heck of a pile of paper. I probably won’t publish that to the public since there’s a lot of private thoughts on it… but might upload it somewhere secure for a backup like in email or google docs. Scanning those is not super time consuming since I’m going on very low resolution of 100 dpi or so for the scans since there isn’t any real big drawing/painting to it even if there’s a sketch or two here and there from dream scapes I tried to outline the architecture of, etc. Many of my dreams have a very architectural feel for them… various locations tie in together in various ways with hallways, placements of architectural elements, etc. It can sometimes get intricate in how I try to detail my ‘morning pages’/diary or whatever you want to call it because of that… Jung had archetypes. I have archetypes and architecture that those archetypes act in. All the world’s a stage…

David Thomann Memorial Painting

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David Thomann Memorial Painting
Oil on Wood Panel
© 1998, Jeff Thomann

This is a work that I created about a semester before I created David Thomann Memorial Installation

This work was created just before the time that Photomosaics really became popular. The painting was basically a bunch of photos that work together to create an portrait of my Uncle Dave. However, I painted the photos individually. The images are from a variety of sources.. family photos, and a variety of other scenes, some which were not actually derived from photos, but were scenes I had lived through in person or had some knowledge of… The inability to really tell the whole story that was behind my reasons for creating this work led me to create the Installation later. I might try to get a better photo of this painting later since there appears to be some glare on this one.

BFA Show – Comic


Comic
Oil on Canvas
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

This image was one of the 3′ x 3′ works I did for my BFA show. This, along with the other images in the show were derived from dream imagery. I had started several dream journals in college, and the images for this show were painted versions of some of the images from those journals.

Capturing dreams in a journal is not always easy. I ‘cheated’ a little some of the time that I was doing these images since I had to come up with some of the dreams to put in to the paintings. I did this by sleeping with the lights on and covering my eyes when I slept, and I kept the sketchbooks and journals next to me within an arms length of where I was sleeping, and would start writing as soon as I awoken from a dream. Covering the eyes while the lights were one forced me to remember the dreams as I awoke when the light hit me eyes. However, I had to work quickly to put the dreams down in the book as quickly as possible before my conscious waking mind took over the subconscious train of thought and started putting too much ‘real world’ left brained stuff in to the images and cause/effect relationships and stories beyond what the dream actually contained that I was trying to capture. You have a very short span of time to do that sort of thing if you dream journal as the waking mind sort of takes over within 5-10 minutes or so after you wake up.

There is a lot I learned about dreams in doing this. My dreams are very much based on architectural ideas and archetypes. Many times multiple people in real life will join in to one being in a dream… creating a construct of sorts.. and these archetypes/constructs play roles. Dreams really do have a meaning and reflection that comes from the waking world, and there is a method to them. If you every try to dream journal, you can learn this methodology and the meaning behind the dreams. Most dream interpretation books are way off. It’s much much more personal than any of those can every really get to the real reality of because every person’s personal archive of images that they draw upon from their own waking lives is unique to them… I might make more posts about this in the future. There is a LOT to dream journaling.

On the Road

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On the Road
Oil on Canvas
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

For a while in college I was fascinated by the idea of driving and the metaphor of how the car becomes a part of one’s self – an extension of the inner self in a variety of ways. Much of my art since that time has revolved around the idea of the journey, and seeing the landmarks on the road we see daily both in cars and outside of them. Roads that parallel highways and exit ramps and overpasses – tunnels to new places, and exits and entries on the highway of life fascinate me both visually, spiritually, and emotionally. We are all on journeys every day. Do we take the time to see what we are passing or just let it pass us by?

Self Portrait with Cabin in Background

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Self Portrait with Cabin in Background
Acrylic, Watercolor, Pastel, and Charcoal on Cardboard
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Draped Figure Drawing

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Draped Figure Drawing
India Ink, Colored Ink, and Charcoal and Tea Stains on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Pastel Figure Drawing

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Pastel Figure Drawing
Pastel and Charcoal on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Reclining Figure Drawing

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Reclining Figure Drawing
Pastel and Charcoal on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Reclining Figure Drawing

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Reclining Figure Drawing
Pastel and Charcoal on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Triple Self Portrait

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Triple Self Portrait
Pastel on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

This drawing was created in Missouri Hall at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. It was done for a drawing class. I was in to ‘role playing’ a little at the time. The figures in the background were playing Dungeons and Dragons, and I was halfway playing that too.. Needless to say the gaming group was not too happy that I was drawing while they were actively sitting around the table, lol. That was about my extent in role playing D&D. I never could get too much in to it. I hated that all of their books were so expensive and usually hard back while Palliadium books were usually 20 bucks or less and soft back, so much cheaper. That, and I just liked the whole playing in modern environment vs the old medieval ideas in D&D…

as far as the cracked mirror/split mirror idea goes, it’s something that’s a theme in some of my self portraits. It’s a visual metaphor that has a lot of different meaning.

David Thomann Memorial Installation


David Thomann Memorial
Oil Paint and Collage on Canvas and Wood
© 1999, Jeff Thomann


I added the above youtube video to this post to help show the work in a way that is somewhat close to the setup it was originally intended to have. Unfortunately, I’ve never shown this work in a gallery or anything, so this was a quick video I took recently in 2014 before putting the work in to storage.

It’s hard to display this work for me due to the emotions involved… It’s difficult to talk about the work or think about it too much for lengthy periods of time because I begin to cry every time I think about it in too big of a segment of time. Many tears were shed during the creation of this artwork.

The installation is probably the biggest work of art that I’d ever attempted. I’ve been told that I try to put too many messages in to one painting many times, and this work is probably the epitome of that sort of thing. there was a lot going on. The work consists of 8 main panels, with the main images taking up two panels each. The panels are just stretcher bars with canvas attached, and they are connected with hinges. Each panel is approximately 3 feet wide x 6 feet tall, so the whole work, when all the panels are standing together is approximately 6 feet x 6 feet, and forms a sort of x if looked at from above. This is one of the few ‘installation’ works I ever attempted to create. I’ll try to add more images of this here in the future as I get more images uploaded to give a better idea of what it looks like from various angles.

Sorry if my rendering skills are not the greatest in the world. This work was created over the process of a semester in college, so I didn’t have an infinite amount of time to work on it. I could have reworked some of it later, but have chosen not to for a variety of reasons.

This work is a memorial installation that I created in honor of an uncle of mine that died due to leukemia several years ago. The reason, that our family believes, that he got leukemia was because he was a helicopter pilot for the United States Army, stationed in Germany, during the time that the radioactive clouds from the Chernobyl “accident” occurred. Around this time many chopper pilots, and other servicesmen in the air started getting symptoms very similar to those that he had… but, as usual the government denies that such a thing occurred.

At the time that I made this installation I was trying to cope with the fact that my little brother had just joined the airforce… and was attending basic training at the same airforce base that my Uncle David died in (It’s in San Antonio, Texas). It seemed to me to be a very bizzare and vile cycle that fate had taken to lead to such circumstances… The weekend that my parents, my sister, and I went to see Danny graduate from basic was very eerie, yet beautiful in a strange sort of way…

On the picture of the panel above, in the lower register of this image is a portrait of my father’s mother, father, brothers, and sisters. My Uncle Dave is the one circled in red. The reason for this is to make his image stand out in a way, and it also sort of implies very bluntly that he was a ‘target’.

The images in the top register are metaphoric symbols of man’s stupidity in creating violence through technology. The people in this register are rendered somewhat icon-like, as they have become mythological icons of our day for the horrors which they have created. The ‘heroes’ of this register are Truman, the Manhattan Project guys, and Hitler. They stand together triumphantly in an eeire background plotting the downfall of man. The middle register is a not-too-well rendered replica of the army identification tags that my Uncle used to wear. Each of the main images are painted copies of photos that meant a lot to me and my family. One of the small images in the top register is a copy of the final photograph my father had of my uncle’s family before he died. I remember when the photo was shot as if it was yesterday. My parents said ‘wave good by to Uncle Dave.’ Tears come to my eyes even to this day as I reflect on that phrase.

One of the ideas/themes with this work was to morph words and stories in to a message that played out like a drama for the viewer. https://jeffthomann.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/img_20140612_093150.jpg?w=949

Brothers & SistersBrothers & Sisters

Brothers & Sisters
Brothers and Sisters happily together at home, but who is this circled?

David, Brandon, Tammy, and Bethany


Uncle Dave, here’s two thumbs up pal!

This is the type of helicoptor that Uncle Dave piloted.

We will cherish you always for all that you have given.
Cherish You Always

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Cher

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E=MC Squared

Does E=mc squared always???

Why on earth is that the the case? Why can’t things be less scientific, less destiny driven…Why does death exist??? In the upper register, not even Albert Einstein, Mr. Zeplin, the Wright Brothers, or Henry Ford, the heroes of our time, can answer this question. Remember the Alamo!
Ford - Remember the Alamo


Zeplin with Baloons talking to Einstein



E equals mc squared not here here sisters!!!
Our technology is made only for our destruction… Logic makes no sense to us anymore. The greatest accomplishment of man is the destruction of his own. Our walls cannot protect us from ourselves. Our true heroes will sacrafice their all for vain political purposes that our real heroes, the ones that we put in our textbooks, have created for foolish worldly greed, jealously, deceit, and lies…

Brother's Not Well



Brother’s not well.

Fair Well
Fair Well

Fair And Nobyl
Fair And Nobyl

Chernobyl
Chernobyl

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In the green striped areas of the painting where the words are there are some photocopied and typed out excerpts from a book that came out about a year before I created the painting which had a lot of information about how Chernobyl was not really as much of an ‘accident’ as it was made to be at the time that it happened. These texts are embeded/collaged in the painting under a layer of stand oil and linseed oil. The book these texts were taken from documents where many areas where corners were cut in regards to safety measures being taken. These were documents that were top secret and not released until shortly before the time that that book came out and became public knowledge.

Chernobyl Secret Documents

Bottomless Self Portrait


Bottomless Self Portrait
Acrylic on Canvas
© Y2K, Jeff Thomann

This was an acrylic painting that I created when I was entering my ‘bottomless paintings’ phase. I was really interested in trying to figure out ways to create compositions that had no one right side up. I still get on that kick sometimes.

BHS

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BHS
Oil on Canvas
© 1999, Jeff Thomann
BHS is one image from a series of paintings I created for my BFA show back in College in 1999. It was based on a dream. BHS is the name of this since the background was sort of similar to a locker hallway in Boonville High School where I attended high school.

Various Times that I can remember being told to stop taking photographs, or stop doing something else artistic…

Various Times that I can remember being told to stop taking photographs, or stop doing something else artistic…

– New York City on Spring Break back in college. I was trying to photograph something in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was told to not flash the camera. Apparently, there, you are allowed to take photos, just not with the flash on.

– Turbosquid. I had a photo of building on there. It had a car somewhere in the photo, taking up a very small portion of the picture plane. Ford sent Turbosquid a Cease and Desist Letter asking that it be taken down, and so they took it down and emailed me notifying me that that was done and why. Nowadays, I try to avoid anything with logos or trademarks on it if possible, or if I shoot them, I purposefully try to just hone in on some image that is not clearly apparent what the picture is of… for instance I might zoom in on spokes of the wheel hub but avoid taking a photo of the entire hub that shows the name of the company, or I might take photos of brick textures and avoid the name of the brick manufacturer, or just go for something natural that no one has the right to – like tree bark, cement, asphalt, grass, clouds, or similar textural type of things.

– behind Columbiana Apartments. I used to live at Columbiana Apartments in Columbia, Missouri, several years ago. It’s near Stephens’s Stables on Old 63, right next door to the BXR Radio Station. I took photos of some clouds out there sometimes, especially when crazy Spring weather came around. I was shooting some upside down tornado-like clouds one day (looked like twisters, but they were funnelling upwards instead of down towards the ground) and got told to stop shooting back there by a lady next door because she thought I was aiming the camera too close to the place back there, which was violating privacy. Apparently, there’s a homeless shelter back there. I didn’t know prior to that incident that that is what was housed in that building…

– Columbia Mall. I was taking some pictures of clouds. I love taking pictures there or in similar places, like overpasses, where there’s no trees in the immediate vicinity blocking the view to the sky. Some guy thought I was taking a photo of him and yelled at me as he drove by. I simply told him that it’s a digital camera and that I hit delete… He gave me the bird and yelled some obscenity before driving off. Kind of funny that someone would do that when the mall itself is constantly taking security pics of everything in the place. If I ever do get someone in a photo, I try to not put that online, or if I do, edit that person out unless I have permission because I don’t want to get hit with privacy lawsuits later.

– A few times people have seen me drawing in crowded locations, and came up asking me about it. Usually, when I used to draw people, such as in the mallsmall sketchbooks – mainly drawn on breaks in cafeterias, at the mall cafe court, or similar public locations, I did quick sketches so it was hard to tell who I was drawing and/or there was so few details, and I could quickly close the book. Usually, most people are actually happy to figure out I’m drawing them if they do put 2 and 2 together… admiration type of thing. I’ve never had someone tell me to directly to stop this sort of activity. However, it is a little embarassing if you do get caught red handed doing that sort of thing. I have not done this type of thing for several years now, but might get back in to it someday since my drawing skills have gone downhill lately due to lack of practice.

– Once back in college, I did a quick little “show” that was not publicly announced or advertised. I simply asked the Art Department for permission to put up an exhibit in one of the halls where there was room for that sort of stuff. When I put it up some people looked at me weirdly and talked about it at a distance as if I could not hear them. No one actually said don’t do that though.

It was very interesting seeing how people going between classes reacted. I didn’t put up a nameplate or anything explaining who did the work or the title. I just walked the halls on various occassions when it was up to see reactions.

It was a small series that I called “Work In Progress”, or WIP – it was a series of parts of a canvas stretcher. The first part was one board, the next part, two boards forming an L shape, the next side, 3 boards, and the last part 4 boards. It was colored with acrylic paint that I airbrushed on there. No actual canvas was on the stretchers. It was just the idea of putting together the stretcher, and the work involved in that that was the focus/theme of the work. I painted the first part a light blue, next part blue on first part of the L and faded in to red on the second part of the L with a nice transition… Third part that had 3 sides showing more of the fade, and start of orange, and 4th part showing full color spectrum with primary colors faded from one in to the other… the idea was sort of that the creating of a canvas is in and of itself a work of art. Some parts of that still exist. Other parts have been torn apart since I kept it at my parents house for storage, and dad found another use for some of the 2x4s in it without asking me if he could tear it apart first… 😦

Someday, I would not mind doing another progressive piece like that again.

Luckily, I didn’t offend anyone directly with WIP. About 2 weeks after I took that down, another art student put a painting up in the same location, and it irritated the someone enough that the painting got taken off of the wall and thrown in to a trash bin below the balacony walkway between the building that this hallway that was on the second floor of Baldwin hall, and the next building over. If I remember correctly, that was Kjell Hahn’s painting of a nun in a slightly erotic pose or something similar to that. It was rumored at the time that the janitor did it, but no one had any proof… (edit 6/25/2014 – edited the link to Kjell’s site above to an internet archive version. Kjell is on facebook if you need to contact him.).

The janitor of Baldwin hall made himself appear to be a bit grumpy at times, but I think honestly, he was just a quite guy… and he actually had a bit of an interest in the arts or else he would not have kept that job, being seen listening to some of the music from the music students and looking at some of the art from the art students.

Back then in the 1990s (things have changed now) Baldwin Hall was the main art building at Truman State University… The top floor was the art student’s realm. The second floor was the music student’s realm, and the first floor and basement were the theater department’s realm. Across the quad, Ophelia Parish is where the art gallery was, but most of OP was just a big storehouse that was never done. Since then, they’ve converted OP in to the main art building… Not sure if sculpture classes are there though. Sculpture used to be in a building all the way on the other side of the campus, across the street – probably a half mile walk or so down the road. It used to be a pain to carry portolios and art toolboxes from Baldwin to the other building and back, so I put a bookbag strap on my portolio, and another on my toolbox that carried my art supplies and walked all over the place with that… One of the biggest gripes I had about Truman when I left was that the art students didn’t have descent sized lockers anywhere, and could not really store art supplies in dorm rooms – at least not legally if they went 100% by the contract with the housing people… major pain for those of us that liked to make big works of art. Most of my painting back then were around 2-3 feet wide, One was actually 6′ x 6′, and some of my sculptures were similar lengths in size…
The last two years I was up there at Kirksville, I actually had to rent a storage shed out on the edge of town to store my stuff.

I highly doubt that storage problem has gotten any better since then, but for the amount of money that college kids give the school to live there, they should fix it someday… if nothing else, the school should get in to some sort of discount deal with the storage places in the area to get college kids a discount.