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Local artist uses beach life as inspiration for unique pieces

Carlsbad artist Shaun Thomas finds local inspiration for his unique wood works

Shaun Thomas
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What happens when a creative type has empty office walls? For graphic designer Shaun Thomas, it encouraged a career evolution. When a move meant finding a new workspace several years ago, Thomas was inspired to create artwork to cover his blank walls. No stranger to creative pursuits, he was already running a full-service digital design firm. “You name it, I’ve designed it,” he laughs.  But the artistic drive didn’t rest when the office work was done, and he says what started with woodworking — making his own furniture — evolved into more.

“I loved building, I loved creating, and as a designer, rather than just go on the computer or on print, it was something that I could actually design, and it was physical and I could use it every day. Then the artwork came,” says Thomas. On almost a whim, he brought samples of wood sculpture pieces he created to Wyland Galleries in nearby Laguna Beach. “I stumbled in and showed them what I was working on, and they were interested,” he remembers, still sounding as genuinely flattered as he was initially. And with that, his artistic horizons were immediately widened beyond his original graphic design scope. 

Fast-forward five years into Thomas’ newfound career as a full-time professional artist, and he’s once again relocated, this time to Carlsbad. The breadth of his work has expanded to include not only his original wood sculptures, but also wood prints and canvases in Thomas’ self-described “coastal-inspired” style. “Surf art and wave art and illustrations have really been overdone,” he says. “I have a different approach of something a little more modern and upscale. The sculptures are warm and natural and kind of organic.”

His business background has guided him to tailor what he offers to attract a range of collectors, from those looking for bespoke pieces to customers seeking more affordable ways to enjoy the art. Renderings are created in advance so clients can fully visualize pieces within their space (he will also personally deliver and install for local collectors). “It’s a tool for sale that’s been phenomenal but it also really helps the customer pick out the best suited artwork for their space and something they’re going to be really happy with and have no regrets on. I try to eliminate all the hurdles,” says Thomas. Additionally, pieces can be adapted to a desired space by changing size, color scheme, orientation, and even modifying into multi-panel pieces like diptychs and triptychs, and nearly all options are featured on his website. “Everyone’s at home. Everyone’s going online. I want to make sure everyone can buy something that they like,” he says of the array of options he features.

Shaun Thomas
Shaun Thomas

“I’m one of those people who, hey, if you don’t like it, I don’t want it up on your wall,” continues Thomas. “As cheesy as it sounds, it’s not about the money. I am inspired by the work, I hope [collectors] are too. It’s something they should feel good about.” And with buyers spanning from here in Southern California to land-locked Nebraska and even Japan, it’s safe to say they do.  shaunthomasart.com

Image Credits Courtesy Photography

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