Jeremy Thomas is an American sculptor, know for his Inflatables, metal sculptures filled with air and painted with colorful patinas.
Early Career and Education
Jeremy Thomas was born in Oklahoma in 1973. After high school, Thomas did an internship in intaglio printmaking with abstract artist, Jean Richardson, in Oklahoma City. He majored in Fine Arts at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico, with the intention of becoming a painter, but fate intervened and sent him in a new direction.
During a move out of his dorm room, a wooden box filled with all of his brushes and paints went missing. Thomas decided not to replace the paints and brushes, but to take a sculpture class. He never looked back. In 1995, Thomas interned with renown MacArthur grant artist and blacksmith, Tom Joyce, and graduated from Santa Fe the following year with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Current Work and Career
Thomas says that he has always been interested in working with basic, geometric forms and creating objects that stand on their own. His inspiration comes from sights he’s seen close to home. “When I drive across the midwest, or where I grew up in Oklahoma,” he said, “and you see objects sitting out in a field and you get a cluster of them and they just become these strange, unknown objects laying out in a field and they have color applied to them.”
Thomas begins by cutting a steel plate into a geometric form and folding it into patterns. He says that each piece informs the next piece, and the next. He welds the pieces together to create an internal space that can be filled with air.
The pieces are placed in the forge, heated at around 2000 degrees and then air is pumped into the piece. It sometimes takes more than one time in the forge to expand a piece, depending on its complexity. “The complexity and size of the piece often determines how it will inflate,” Thomas says, “and so a lot is left to chance. Shapes and folds can fall across each other unexpectedly and makes the process spontaneous and exciting. There’s no top or bottom. Complete objects can be viewed from any angle, placed at any angle.”
Thomas works from his studio in New Mexico. His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, Arizona and has been exhibited in galleries around the world.