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Meet Kaonis Thomas.
Kaonis Thomas as a full member of The Arts and Culture Network and an exceptionally talented fine artist based in St. Louis Missouri.
You can find his website here.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kaonis recently and you can find the video recordings and some of his work below.
Kaonis is a remarkable African American fine artist whose journey in the world of art has been nothing short of extraordinary.
From a young age, Kaonis demonstrated a deep passion for the visual arts. He honed his skills as a portrait and still life artist during his formative years, setting the stage for an impressive artistic career. His commitment to his craft led him to graduate high school with a commercial art certificate from Art Instruction Schools, an accomplishment that laid the foundation for his future success.
Throughout high school, Kaonis's dedication to art only grew stronger. He participated in the Saint Louis Public Schools Honors Art program, where he expanded his artistic horizons by exploring ceramics, photography, and further developing his drawing and painting abilities.
His commitment to the arts was unwavering, and it was during this time that he embarked on a path that would ultimately define his artistic identity.
Kaonis's academic journey continued with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in illustration and a Master’s of Arts Degree in Studio Arts for drawing and painting. His exceptional ability to portray realism earned him a role as a subcontractor billboard pictorial artist for outdoor advertising, showcasing his talents in a highly visible medium.
Not only has Kaonis excelled in the art world, but he has also served his country as a Missouri Army National Guardsman. His military service allowed him to learn new skill sets and assume numerous leadership positions. His dedication to education, training, and deployments took him to different countries and enriched his life experiences.
Today, Kaonis Thomas is a conceptual fine artist who is passionately dedicated to researching and painting images that delve into various aspects of African American realities and histories. He proudly identifies his art style and movement as "Social Conceptualism," a unique approach that emphasises the conceptual connection to history and the meanings embodied in the titles of his artwork over the mere appearance of the image. This signifies a deep commitment to exploring social themes of culture and history through his creative process.
Kaonis's work as a fine artist revolves around creating art that not only captivates the eye but also challenges the mind. He paints cultural images on stretched cotton canvas using acrylic or oil paint, with the intention of exploring the rich history and experiences of the African diaspora and African American culture. His art is a powerful testament to the strength and diversity of the African American community.
Kaonis draws inspiration from myriad sources, including literature, music, folklore, history, and personal memories. His paintings are not just art; they are powerful political statements that urge viewers to reflect on the past, present, and future of the African American identity. His use of expressionism, symbolism, and realism in his work creates conceptual imagery that dismantles oppressive and marginalising narratives.
What sets Kaonis apart as an artist is his continuous exploration of new and creative ways to express his concerns and perspectives. He leverages colour theory, line, shape, form, and the composition's edge to evoke mood and conflict in his subject matter. His paintings are a visual symphony that invites viewers to challenge their assumptions and perspectives, questioning the biases they may have learned.
Kaonis is an artist on a mission. He is concerned with compositional aesthetics and the creation of vertical art, where the edge of the canvas is an exploration of psychological tension that establishes mood. His expressive and powerful painting style conveys emotions and messages that resonate with all viewers.
As a conceptual artist, Kaonis is committed to stimulating conversation and thought about African American culture, trauma, aspiration, and history. His work is a testament to his experiences, thoughts, and his own existence as a human being. He has been influenced by significant historical events and movements, including racism, sexism, segregation, discrimination, civil rights, and the collective 400 years of American histories.
In the world of art, Kaonis Thomas is a force to be reckoned with. His art is a continuous journey of exploration and representation of life experiences. It's a real pleasure to introduce an artist to you whose work not only speaks to the heart but also challenges the status quo. Kaonis's dedication to creating art that resonates with a global audience is truly commendable. I can't wait to witness more of his incredible journey as he continues to push the boundaries of art and representation.
Enjoy the videos below. It was great fun recording them.
A deep dive into Kaonis's work.
The arts and culture hot top ten with Kaonis Thomas.
The This or That game.
Some of Kaonis's art.
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