About Thomas Blackshear...
Thomas Blackshear, renowned illustrator, grew up in Atlanta, Georgia where he began displaying his artistic ability. Using paper maché he created houses, fantasy buildings and items from children's books like the three houses from The Three Little Pigs. Eventually, Thomas would develop his painting skills and expand his artistic horizons.
A high school art teacher encouraged him to become an artist by giving Thomas flexibility on his assignments. He had the freedom to be versatile and as open with his projects as he pleased. Thomas remembers creating his favorite piece, a sculpture of a woman in King Kong's hand. After high school, he received a scholarship and attended and graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago.
Thomas has created a phenomenal amount of art in his life. His work consists of illustrations done for various companies such as Anheuser-Busch, Lucas Films, Universal Studios, U.S. Postal Service, Smirnoff Vodka, 7-Up, Paramount, and limited edition prints for the Greenwich Workshop.
Between 1986 and 1989, Thomas illustrated U.S. postage stamps for the Black Heritage Series. In 1990 the Post Office released Thomas's 50th Anniversary movie poster stamps, The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach and Beau Geste. He also painted twenty-eight illustrations for the U.S. Postal Service book, "I Have A Dream." Seventeen of these paintings were exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and, later, were part of a traveling exhibit.
Thomas entered the collectible world when the Hamilton Collection commissioned him to create four series of limited-edition collectors plates beginning with the highly successful, first-ever Star Wars plate. From this opportunity, Thomas's career as a collectibles artist took off, however nothing has been closer to his heart than the concept he first developed in 1994 with Willitts Designs International. The elegant figures he designed for the Thomas Blackshear's Ebony Visions collection is a blend of Art Nouveau with elements of African Culture, as well as elements of cultures from throughout the world. Thomas calls his unique style "Afro-Nouveau" and says, "the collection reflects not only my visions as a black man and the unique visions of black people, it represents visions we all share, regardless of the color of our skin. Emotions like hope, love, tenderness, faith, and serenity know no boundaries."
The Ebony Visions line was introduced in 1995 and continues to earn many awards. Blackshear received the coveted 1996 "Rising Star Award" and the 1999 "Artist of the Year" award from the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers. The Blackshear Circle collector club began in 1997 to update collectors on Thomas's activities and new releases, learn about his unique artistic styling, hear about one another's collections, and view signing event schedules.
Thomas shares his success with his wife Ami, who also is an artist, and their son Elisha. As an artist, he is always challenging himself to new heights of creativity.