Lex R. Thomas (b. 1996) is a queer, non-binary artist with a focus on figurative work, and who currently works and lives in Lafayette, Louisiana. Raised in the rural outskirts of small-town Kaplan, Louisiana, Lex grew up surrounded by the natural world and all its creative energy. Lex moved to Lafayette at age 19 (2015) to reinvent their identity, as both a person and an artist, by searching for meaning while studying music and art at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Ongoing issues with chronic pain and mental health spurred them to transition from the traditional structure of higher education to one of self-care and preservation. Lex then began to more frequently use artmaking as a form of personal catharsis, utilizing ink and strong linework. Their ink portraiture showcases figures suspended in sparse, geometric settings. Existentialism, derealization, and dissociation were reoccurring themes during this time. At 24 (2020) Lex completed their education at Arizona State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. This formal education inspired themes of the varied natures of human existence to begin appearing in their art. The diversity of human experience and our interconnectedness with nature continue to play a central role in their personal work. Lex currently uses a realistic expressionism style in their artmaking, embracing color through acrylic paints to capture human and animal figures in botanicals and other environmental phenomena. Lex’s art has participated in public and juried exhibitions around Lafayette such as The Eye of the Beholder, 12×12 Art Spark Auction, and various galleries for Artwalk. Their upcoming shows include Assez/Enough at Basin Arts and their solo show The Human Condition at Gallery R.
Insta: @lexr.thomas Website: www.lexrthomas.art
Who makes up your art circle?
I have much love to throw around when it comes to celebrating those who make me a better artist – and person! My first shoutout goes to my partner & fellow creative, Louis Deumite. Thank you for making home a safe place to learn, create, and grow. My inner art circle is my family. My mom, siblings, and friends have supported my creative career from the very beginning, before I held any confidence of my artistic abilities. To my crew: Angel, Matthew, Alex, Kate, Jared, Brooke, & Morgan… I love y’all! Others that are essential to my art making process are my fellow creatives in Acadiana that inspire & validate my experiences. As an emerging artist, I am super thankful for those who’ve reached out with advice or support. I’ve been quickly welcomed into the artistic community here in Lafayette. The biggest thanks to Beth Lejeune, Susan David, Herb Roe, Dustin Reed for granting me opportunities I never had before. A very special thanks to Camille Banuchi who’s inspired my figurative work and took me under her wing when I was first starting out.
How do you expand your art circle?
For many years I felt like I was shouting into the void that is social media. It wasn’t until the beginning of last year that I discovered the joys of having a local creative community. The more love and trust that I invest in our local art scene, the more growth I continue to experience. Attending Basin’s Critique Nights as well as participating in Creative Acadiana and Artist’s Roundups hosted by the Acadiana Center for the Arts have allowed me to meet some incredible artists here in Lafayette. My advice to younger artists is to just start showing up.
What value do you see in having a creative community?
One of the most valuable assets an emerging artist can have is the support & guidance of professional artists. If you are willing to listen, established artists will share their stories and struggles. From advice on how to apply to grants to how to survive burn–out, your colleagues are invaluable to keeping you afloat.
How does your artistic approach contribute to your community?
Artmaking has been my own personal outlet for expressions & catharsis. It’s always been a very personal, yet open process. Through sharing my experiences and remaining vulnerable, I’ve connected with many others who also felt isolated by their own thoughts/experiences. My art reveals the parts of life that we experience in solitude. With internal reflection, I weave connections with the people around me. It has helped me feel less alone within grief, tragedy, and trauma.