Roy Thomas 1949 - 2004
Roy Thomas was an Ahnisnabae-born Ojibwa artist who resided in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was born in a small Northwestern Ontario community of Long Lac, on December 29, 1949.
Roy devoted a great deal of time learning about the ways of his people, their teachings and the ways of nature. While he was basically a self-taught artist, Roy was guided by the memories of his grandparents who taught him what to paint. At an early age Roy can see the stories his grandparents told him. His grandparents recognized his talent and encouraged him to draw what he seen through their stories.
The first time he drew, Roy used his pointing finger and drew on his grandmother's back as she told him stories. Eventually, Roy used a stick on the ground, on the beaches, on the snow banks and in the dark with the end lit. Roy would tell his grandparents at the time that these drawings would disappear. His grandparents told him "One day my grandson, these drawings will come back to you, what is yours is never gone away forever." This was the beginning of Roy Thomas the Ahnisnabae artist.
Roy was a painter in the Ojibwa Woodland style. This style uses symbolisms and imagery inspired by the pictographs that Roy also seen as a child. The presence of the pictographs and other artist also inspired Roy. The spirit of art and his elders also taught him what to paint. He painted the visions of the teachings of his people, for his family, for the community and for his nation.
During his years of painting, Roy has presented his art in numerous one-man shows in Canada, United States and Europe. He participated in a number of group shows nationally and internationally. His work is found in many national and international collections including: The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario; Esso Resources, Edmonton, Alberta; Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Canada); McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario; The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario; The National Museum of Man, Ottawa, Ontario; Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Inuit Gallery, Mannheim, Germany; and the National Gallery of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan.
1992 - This art is one of the many teaching taught to us by our Elders. the Elders recognize artist who are serious about their gift to paint will teach artist what to pain. They belive it is not how you paint it is what you paint. The circle is nearly in all of native art because it represents equality. Because the sun moon earth, and the trees are round. The lines connecting to the circle represents this is where life comes from the Great Spirit God makes of all life. I could only speak for my art but i do respect all other artist interpretation we only do things differently but we all have the same meaning. When I paint a circleit always represents the Great spirit first then sun which is the fire the bird represents the air the animal represents the land and the fish represents the water four elements of life fire our land water made by the Creator for all mankind is our duty to care for these gifts. I can not say that i did this art I think about the animal who has given his life to use his hair and the tree these two together make up the paintbrush. I also acknolwedge my relative the white for his invention to make the art material paper canvas pencil acrylic paint and he is always improving the art material. When he improves his workk of invention too must inprove the [auality, awality, auadity?] of my style of art. When one does [?] a better job this causes a chain reaction I know the Elders will start to remember more of ours of life but they teach us the only person you to better is yourself from yesterday. We as artist use all these elements of life to paint fire to use better light to see as we apaint. Our to dry our painting airbrush. Land from the trees we get paper wooden frames. Water to wash our material to use watercolours. Before I say I did these paintings I must thank alll life that is involved for I only held the paintbrush. I als would like to acknowledge where its most useful in terms of duplicating, the art that I am involved reaches many people. I have developed a friendshipfirst with these people. I am not involved with any other printer here and elsewhere. I chose the Pacific Edition Limited because they know me and the art I do better than any other printer. We are alway improving out ralents together. I have not left any person out on the art I do. I know you can relate to some of the art I am doing. Next time when you art that look beautiful and when you say "my that is a beautiful piece of art". you say that because you can relate to the art first and to the artist. What you are reallly saying is that you the admirer is beautiful there positive relating to positive. My Good Spirit is with you and your family. - Roy Thomas