Thomas Stubbs

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Artist's work reflects politics and social issues

tom stubbs

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
August 4, 2006

Thomas Stubbs said every one of his pieces sends a message and if it makes people uncomfortable—oh well.

In his current exhibit, Not Wallpaper 3, which can be seen at the Pomona Frame House, he is pushing the envelope again and making no apologies.

Stubbs, 49, is a well-known artist, and he isn't one to shy away from politics or controversy. He said that he enjoys making others think about the world around them through his work.

"For inspiration, I draw from the things that are happening around me in society today and use that when I paint, draw, sketch or engrave," said Stubbs. "And right now, with the things going on, I don't have to look too far to find things to use in my work."

He said that the political climate internationally is one thing that definitely fuels his artistic inspiration.

Stubbs said that right now his latest collection and current political point of view can be seen at Pomona Frame House in an exhibit set to end Saturday.

"Just look at Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan," Stubbs said. "There's plenty of stuff right there for me to work with."

Stubbs, who holds several degrees and also holds a few masters' in fine art under his belt, said that he uses his love of art and his education to make an impression in the world around him.

"I'm totally anti-war and I'm totally anti-Bush. He's extreme and whether or not others believe or realize it we're currently living with one of the most extreme governments of our time," said Stubbs, pointing to several of his paintings and engravings that focus on his distaste for the president.

"The images I create aren't nearly as gruesome as the images played out as part of the Bush administration's war on terrorism," he said.

He said by using his dislike of war and what he calls government terrorism, he is making others think about and look at what is happening.

"I'm not just one who works solely on political issues. I also take on psychological topics and social conditions—anything that makes people think."

He said that he creates his work solely for himself.

"I have messages and I want to get out there. I see the world differently than most," said Stubbs. "I'm not here to please anyone—I'm an artist who creates things that make people think. If they are uncomfortable, so be it."

He said he finds that he is usually working on three to six pieces at a time. He also said that his children also find their way onto his canvas. "Many things influence me," said Stubbs. "As a single father and artist I use what I know, and my children are a big part of that."

But Stubbs said he draws the line when it comes to his students. With those under his tutelage he refrains from projecting his beliefs.

"As an educator, I don't force my ideas on my students," said Stubbs. "When people see my work either they get it or they don't—most people get it."

Stubbs is teaching at Mt. San Antonio College, Riverside Community College and at the Laguna College of Art and Design.

"I think the biggest thing I want when it comes to my work is to get people talking," said Stubbs. "I'm not in it for the recognition; I get that from other places. I'm a product of our society, and I want to use my work to get messages out there that allow others to talk and more importantly think about what is going on."

Stubbs' work is also on display at the Magic Door IV Bookstore in Pomona.

© Inland Valley Daily Bulletin