Thom Wright has combined his passions for art, music and engineering, and all of his practices have benefited each other. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he joined the U. S. Navy after high school and then returned home to go to college. After graduating in 1970 with a BA and MS in mathematics from UCLA and CSULA, he began a successful, 32 year career in aerospace and started painting with watercolors. While working in advanced space systems and technologies development, he began taking art and art history courses at night at local community colleges. With his watercolors, he began selling art and successfully entering competitive art shows in 1978 and continues showing in Southern California.
In 1986, he had an epiphany, one of those moments when he realized that he had to be an artist. His subject matter moved toward contemporary issues, including geopolitics, global environment, technology, cultural and natural processes of change, and jazz. His abstracts also migrated towards mixed media and printmaking. These interests and processes continue in his art work.
Desiring to improve his skills, theory and knowledge in art, he took early retirement from the Boeing Corp. in 1999 and entered art school full time. In May, 2006, he completed the MFA program in Drawing and Painting at California State University, Long Beach.
Selected Exhibitions (*Solo Shows)
2016 ART START, Juried national group show, all media, at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA), Santa Ana, CA, exhibitions director Carolyn Yarnell.
RHYTHM, SOUND AND MUSIC, Juried, themed group show of the members of the Artist’s Council of the Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, CA, director Kate E. Hoffman.
HUNTINGTON BEACH FIRST ANNUAL ART FESTIVAL, Juried entry to the art and music festival of Huntington Beach, sponsored by the Huntington Beach Business Community.
2015 CENTERED ON THE CENTER, All media, group open show at the Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, CA, director Kate E. Hoffman.
ARTIST’S COUNCIL FIRST ANNUAL EXHIBITION, Juried group show of members of the Artist’s Council of the Huntington Beach Art Center, director Kate E. Hoffman.
2014 SUMMER III SHOW, Group show of local selected artists at the Stone Rose Gallery, Long Beach, CA, selected by gallery director Michiel Daniel.
IFAC ALL MEDIA 2014, Juried show of California artists, at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA, juror is Richard Turner, Professor Emeritus, Chapman U.
HBAC ARTISTS COUNCIL INAUGURAL EXHIBITION, Juried show of fine art from the members of the Artists Council of the Huntington Beach Art Center, director Kate Hoffman, Huntington Beach, CA.
SCA SPRING ART EXHIBITION, Open group show of SCA members at the Art Gallery of Coastline Community College, juror is David Michael Lee, Newport Beach, CA.
2013 OPEN SHOW 2013, Juried California show at Gallery 825, sponsored by the Los Angeles Art Association, juror is J. Gheith, assistant curator at SFMOMA, Beverly Hills, CA.
SCA AT CAP, Juried group show at Community Art Projects, juror is Pat Sparkul, director of CAP exhibitions, Laguna Beach, CA.
2012 SCA AT CAP, Juried group art show at Community Art Projects, juror is Pat Sparkul, director of CAP exhibitions, Laguna Beach, CA.
2011 TWISTING THE EDGE, Juried group art show at the Southern California Artists’ Project Gallery, juror is M. Bette, curator at Laguna Beach Art Museum, Pomona, CA.
2010 CORAZON, Three selected artists show at the Spezzano Gallery, Long Beach, CA, director Esther Shaw.
2009 SPRING ALL MEDIA EXHIBITION, Open group show by the Huntington Beach Art League, juror is artist and teacher Tom Fong, NWC, Huntington Beach Central Library, Huntington Beach, CA.
THE STRAND AT HUNTINGTON, Three selected artists show at the Spezzano Gallery, Long Beach, CA.
2008 MADE IN CALIFORNIA, A state-wide juried, all-media exhibition at the City of Brea Art Gallery, Brea, CA, juror is Gloria Williams Sanders of the Norton Simon Art Museum.
SCA BANKS ON ART, Group show by members of Southern California Artists, Inc., curated by Pat Sparkul, hosted by Wells Fargo Bank, Laguna Beach, CA.
2008 NATIONAL OPEN EXHIBITION, A national juried, all-media group show sponsored by Long Beach Arts, Long Beach, CA.
2007 *GLOBAL WARMING CYCLES, Aliso Viejo Library, Aliso Viejo, CA.
GLOBAL WARMING: ARTISTS’ SPEAK, Juried national all-media exhibition at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA), Santa Ana, CA.
ABSTRACT WORKS, Group show of four invited artists at the J Flynn Gallery, Costa Mesa, CA.
2006 2006 NATIONAL OPEN EXHIBITION, Juried show at the Long Beach Arts Gallery, Long Beach, CA.
ALL MEDIA 2006, Juried show at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA.
FORTNIGHT, MFA art graduates show at Raid Projects Art Gallery, Culver City, CA.
TOUR DES ARTISTES, Juried show for the Long Beach Arts Festival, judged by Marie Thiebault and Mark Ryedel, Long Beach, CA.
*Global Warming Cycles, MFA Exhibition at the Werby Art Gallery, CSULB, Long Beach, CA.
Selected Publications and Reviews
2010 “The Strand at Huntington, Paintings by Thom Wright”, Art Brochure of mixed media abstract paintings about development and change of the Strand site in Huntington Beach, 6 pp.
2009 “Global Warming Cycle Paintings, Thom Wright”, art brochure of abstract paintings in the Global Warming Cycle series, 28pp.
2008 “SCA Banks on Art”, Online art review of the group art exhibition by Southern California Artists, Inc., held at the Wells Fargo Bank Building, Summer 2008, Laguna Beach, CA., at www.southerncaliforniaartists.org
2007 “Specific Abstractions”, Art review of the group show “Abstract Works” at the J Flynn Gallery, by Theo Douglas, OC Weekly, 16 March 2007.
Art Related Experience
2016 Juror, Sunset Beach Art Festival and Exhibition, Sunset Beach, CA.
2014 – 2015 Programs Chairperson, Artist’s Council of the Huntington Beach Art Center.
2014 Juror, Annual Members Exhibition, Redlands Art Association, Redlands, CA.
2008 President, Southern California Artists, Inc., Laguna Beach, CA.
2007 Art instructor at Harbor Day School as visiting artist, Newport Beach, CA.
Juror, Sunset Beach Art Festival and Exhibition, Sunset Beach, CA.
2012 Third place, All Media 2014, Irvine Fine Arts Center, September 2014
- First place in oils and paintings, Spring All Media Exhibition, sponsored by the Huntington Beach Art League, Huntington Beach, CA. First place in mixed media painting, October 2009, Huntington Beach Art League.Education 2002 Drawing and Painting Course, CSU Summer Arts Program, Florence, Italy.1978 – 1999: Undergraduate Transfer program in Drawing and Painting at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA.1970 MS Mathematics, CSULA, Los Angeles, CA.
- 1968 BA Mathematics, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
- 1973 MBA Behavioral Management, CSULA, Los Angeles, CA.
- 2000 – 2003: BFA program in Drawing and Painting at CSULB, Long Beach, CA.
- 2006 MFA in Drawing and Painting at CSULB, Long Beach, CA.
- First place in mixed media painting, April 2009, Huntington Beach Art League.