Thomas Easley is a figurative American painter known for his bold and kinetic artwork that straddles the line between impressionism and abstract art. His art reflects a lifelong effort to live in the moment and share how he sees the world – dynamic, multidimensional and full of contrasts. That sense of presence is evident in his art, whether in the movement of his nudes or the joie de vivre of the roosters that roam his canvas. His landscapes are not just tranquil visions; the play of light and color creates a sense of drama.
Easley was born in Oroville, California, and raised in Lake Tahoe when it was still a quiet mountain town hidden from most of the world. Easley was already a professional skier, a guitarist in a rock band, and a published poet at 20. Painting came to him serendipitously. Struck by the beauty of illuminated manuscripts in the famed Folgers Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., Easley decided to apply the illumination technique to one of his own poems. It was a work of art. An admirer purchased the poem, which led Easley to make his first painting.
It wasn’t long before Easley’s art began to get noticed. He settled in England in 1980 where he refined his skills as a classical realist, specializing in miniature paintings, portraits, manuscript illuminations and heraldry. He became the first foreigner to be inducted as a full member of the Royal Miniature Society. Easley later moved to Venice where he expanded his use of glazed oil techniques to paint large-scale architectural landscapes, floral still life and nudes. While in Venice, Easley developed a distinctive blend of pencil, chalk and watercolor applications that transformed simple pencil sketches into multi-layered works of art. While these were standalone pieces, he also used them as studies for large oil commissions which came to him from Europe and North America.
A visit to India, a country with a rich history and deep philosophical traditions, made Easley feel he had come home. For the next decade it became home. India’s rich perspectives on multidimensional reality led Easley to immerse himself in dimensional realism, surrealism and allegorical works.
After two decades in Europe and Asia, Easley returned to the United States in the early Aughts and began experimenting with a mixture of styles and mediums. Late one night, struck by inspiration and finding no canvas at hand, he pulled out a large piece of board used as stiffening for his mattress, and began painting his vision. What emerged was a style that melds the traditional with the new to create a blend that is uniquely his own. Using palette knives to layer and sculpt paint on board, Easley creates a rush of color, texture and form that dramatizes contrasts on multiple levels. His builds images with energy and light that evoke a visceral connection in the viewer.
Easley is the author of several books, including the best-selling Figure In Motion, which celebrates the female form. His other works include Yubbles and the Mumdebobbin, On The Elephant’s Knee, and Between Apes and God. Easley is a Master on the Times of India’s Speaking Tree blog. He has also designed sticker posters for Scholastic, packaging for Harry’s Bar products and illustrated covers for both Purple Heart Magazine and the luxury Ciga hotels magazine.
Easley has long held that man is multi-dimensional. That awareness is reflected in his paintings that show an ongoing quest of creative experiment and expression. “Once we define things, we stop asking questions,” Easley says. Without asking questions, there’s no pursuit of meaning, no push for a higher calling. And that’s simply never enough for Thomas Easley.