Sunday, November 19, 2017

Brodhead Center Permanent Collection

A piece from my Cyanosis series was purchased by the Brodhead Center at Duke University.  The video about that piece, above, was shot and edited by Summer Dunsmore.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Pink What Then

Let's pretend that our value isn't determined by our physiognomy.  What then? 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lamar from Perquimans County, NC

In the studio. Chapel Hill, NC

The oil painting in the center of this image is 2 feet high by 4 feet wide. This is a painting of a friend I met a little over two years ago. Handsome fella, eh? He also paints portraits.

Monday, April 7, 2014


TEEF: Good for the Soul from William Paul Thomas on Vimeo.

In the midst of all the turmoil and rampant violence happening around the country, I think it is imperative that we all identify creative strategies to counter negative energy with life-affirming interventions. I collect short audio clips from men recounting personal moments of happiness. I record some of these men smiling as long as they can before it becomes unbearable. My goal is to compose a series of awkward and endearing living portraits that stitch together the lives of a diverse group of men using their own words.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hashtag Maternal Heritage

"HashtagMaternalHeritage" oil on canvas. 54" x 30"

I saw this girl in a parking lot one day at UNC, and I asked her if she would let me paint her portrait. Her complexion and her hair color caught my eye. Whenever I meet a black person with skin lighter than mine, I assume they have a closer White ancestor than I'd find in my own family tree. She came to sit for some photos. We talked. Her mother is actually German. That detail about her mother's identity might have been the least provocative thing of everything we discussed. At the same time I realized that I'm obsessed with that question: "What are you?" I know that's ignorant and fortunately it never actually comes out of my mouth that way, but I always want to know details about a person's ethnic background. Most of the time a conversation based on that inquiry falls flat, but somehow my curiosity still feels justified.

Monday, October 7, 2013

small art | BIG STRESS

Jennifer challenged me. "Why is the tape slightly raised on both ends?" The truth: it must've been lifted in transit.

I shipped 56 small paintings in a FedEx box to a local gallery in my hometown. At the opening reception, my sister noticed the aforementioned tape faux pas on one of the pieces and I offered her an insufficient rebuttal. Last night I had an awful dream in which Jenna gave me the toughest critique of my life. That critique ignited a shouting match and I felt more rage than one should ever feel when discussing tiny paintings. What does this mean? Well, I'm sensitive about my stuff. I was salty that Jenna saw a flaw in my craft that I couldn't defend. I'm insecure about this new direction I'm taking with my work. That nightmare was an indicator of all those things. Now what? I need to tighten up my craft, even for paintings that are meant to be crude. I love this new body of work, so I need to worry less about what everyone else thinks of it.

And to sum up this little cursory dream analysis, I'm grateful that this is my reality. One of my major stressors in life comes from people objectively responding to something that I've made; [because I'm privileged enough to claim that as a profession.]  My response to why that tape wasn't completely parallel to the surface of the canvas was wordy and meandering. My unconscious mind is feeling the brunt of Jenna's astute, albeit unexpected, observation. Nice catch, mug!! Nice catch.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pauses Short & Brief

There are several young women in a staggered, seemingly choreographed formation in a small, brightly lit room.  Mirrors cover three of the four walls.  All the women are speaking at once.  They appear to understand each other despite the deafening lack of silence between each phrase.  Every assertion excites more than the last. The clamoring briefly subsides as a tiny boy climbs to the floor from a leather hydraulic chair.  The boy approaches a woman in the group.  The volume rises again.  Not speaking, the boy grabs the woman's blouse; tugs at it.  He is barely half her height and smaller than the leg he firmly wraps himself around.  He wants attention.  She understands.  His grip is firm. He peers up at a woman standing less than a foot away from the pillar he’s latched on to.  She looks back; sneers.  He tightens his grip.  The women continue.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blanket in Tree for Friends

I'd been printing images of small paintings on blankets.  I decided to make one especially for the MLK & Estes rush hour crowd in Chapel Hill.  I wanted people to call me.  That's as far as my plan got.  I thought that there was a good chance that it would be removed.  It stayed up for a little over a week.  I only hope that the person that took it down didn't throw it away.  It'd been outdoors in the rain, in the trees, surrounded by poison ivy; but it could be cleaned and used.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

8 feet

Well, the face alone isn't actually 8 feet, but the painting is.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013