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Artist Spotlight - Thomas Flynn II

Thomas Flynn II is a multi-disciplinary artist working primarily in acrylic painting focusing on color, pattern, and figure. His work has been included in the SCAD permanent collection, featured on ArtSlant, and included in Peripheral Vision Arts among other publications. He has exhibited in Texas, Georgia, and curated into virtual exhibitions internationally. Flynn received a B.F.A. in painting and a minor in art history from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2016. In addition to his own art practice, Thomas serves as the Editor for the artist-run publication, Friend of the Artist. Flynn is currently living and working in Dallas, TX.

A quote that inspires you “Never regret thy fall o Icarus of the fearless flight, for the greatest tragedy of them all is never to feel the burning light.” – Oscar Wilde

What themes do you pursue through your paintings? In my paintings, I explore themes of transformations, decoration, and hiding in plain sight. Layered in flashing dripping color, my painted shapes alter their environments, existing as floating entities, flat and unmoving but vibrating in living and changing color. At once foreign and familiar, the entities are made of the shadow of dozens of hands, overlapping and writhing, until the boundaries between each other disappear and only exist as a unified filter between themselves and their environment. The pattern in the backgrounds are inspired by botanical fabric and wallcovering design, but with vibrant and sometimes unexpected color cords.

What type of work do you most enjoy doing? In my work, I love creating interesting color problems, and solving them unconventionally. In each of my paintings, I create a set of rules for structure, color, ect, and then enjoy finding the places to follow those rules rigidly and where to bend or abandon them completely. It’s a fun game to play with yourself while painting.

What’s your favourite artwork? The artwork that I keep coming back to is Medicine of Gustav Klimt’s Faculty paintings. Part of the reason why is because I adore fin de siècle artwork especially from Austria, and Klimt’s work is a perfect blend of beauty for beauty sake and exploring the subconscious desires of being a human. I also love a painting with a good story. From Wikipedia: The paintings were commissioned for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna between 1901-07. They were almost universally attacked by critics and when the ministry refused to lend them to a prominent exhibition, Klimt then resigned his commission, wishing to keep his work, but the ministry insisted they were already property of the state. Only when Klimt threatened the removal staff with a shotgun was he able to keep his paintings. Medicine eventually came into the possession of a Jewish family, and in 1938 the painting was seized by Germany. In 1943, after a final exhibition, they were moved to Schloss Immendorf, a castle in Lower Austria, for protection. In May 1945, the paintings are believed to have been destroyed as retreating German SS forces set fire to the castle to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. However, while the castle was gutted, there is no proof that the paintings were destroyed, all that remains now are preparatory sketches and a few photographs. Only one photograph remains of the complete painting of Medicine, taken just before it was destroyed.

What does success mean to you? Success is waking up every day and fully enjoying where you are at in the present moment. For me, there is no goal or accomplishment greater than that.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? To prioritize what’s important to you. For me, that means making time for my studio practice everyday in some manner – but also knowing when to prioritize my family over that. It’s a balancing act.

You can find Thomas' work available on our art shop!

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