A Conversation Piece by Austin Thomas — I look at the world around me as a creative space, listening, and observing; I am making a visual language. The page is a particular place for me, functioning like studio space, a place for experimentation and note-taking. I take snapshots. I am inspired by the urban environment, particularly architecture and quotidian objects. I use my sketchbooks and photographs as reference materials.
I meditate a lot; therefore, my work is a practice of clarity. I love circles and distinctive geometric shapes, chance encounters, and repetition. I make collages and use steel templates and handmade stencils in my drawings and prints. The work is about the city. Although the work looks abstract, it is formed by my own experience of moving around the city, and working within a community of artists.
Austin Thomas, Deep Red Blood Moon with Black Patch, 2020
Working with geometric shapes and a limited palette, I want the viewer to insert their own narrative into my work. I love shadows and found that printing ghost impressions, I can let chance take over. I want black ink to be like writing on the page of my own language, describing night, nature, constellations, the enormity of the physical world, and the universe above.
In this body of work, the paper I am printing on is essential. Continuing with the writing metaphor, I use mostly old paper from books, which adds richness to the reading of my prints.
I use an etching press and ink up craft foam circles, triangles I cut from Plexiglas, and steel templates borrowed from a metal workshop as plates to make my prints. I am employing a process where I place a collage of inked shapes and templates onto the press bed and then sandwich the paper on top of the plates. Sometimes I lay the paper or many papers down first, arranging the shapes in compositions on top. I am ghost printing, printing without re-inking a plate, pulling several images, organizing, and rearranging paper and plates.
Austin Thomas, Black Arrow, 2020