London is now home to a new digital multimedia design and photography studio with a bent for social action.
Michael Thomas, CEO of Thomas Media, spoke to a crowd of Madison County Chamber of Commerce members and well-wishers before cutting the ceremonial ribbon on Tuesday at the company’s new space at 7 S. Main St.
“We are a veteran owned and operated company transplanted from Columbus. We can do in house web design, marketing packets as well as commercials and engagement for clients on social media, but the biggest portion of our company is the undergirding of veterans services. We are focused on getting our veterans back to work,” Thomas said.
To that aim, Thomas and his team want to teach integration techniques to returning veterans such as how to translate skills learned and honed through military service into marketable experiences on a resume.
Thomas specifically chose London because its population included a large portion — as much as a third — consisting of veterans, he informed the audience. It is his wish to tap into that population and link them with services that they may not be getting currently.
The space at 7 S. Main St. is not only a studio for digital production, but also serves as a gallery, as well. It currently exhibits the artworks of four central Ohio artists, three of whom are veterans, including the social commentary geared photography of Thomas himself.
The other three artists being shown are: Cecilia Romain, whose pastel dominated abstracts are acrylic on canvas; Elaine Farrington, presenting nature-themed photographic prints; and Shawn Auguston, whose colorful acrylic paintings were inspired by the loss of a close friend during his tour in Iraq.
Thomas, a disabled combat veteran of the U.S. Army was deployed five years in Iraq and another year in Afghanistan. He served over 10 years in the Army.
Art has always been a factor in Thomas’ life, but it was in 2014 that it took on a whole new meaning.
That year Thomas became involved with the Make a Wish Foundation. He was asked to fulfill the wish of little girl at a last minute notice. The child’s wish was to be photographed with her mother, smiling — something neither she nor her mother had been doing much of since her terminal status. Thomas was fortunate enough to record some 200 images of them smiling together before the little girl’s passing.
That is when he realized the creation of art had a transcendent quality.
“During the time of shooting those photographs I disappeared,” he said.
In June 2017, by happy coincidence — or possibly a pleasant twist of fate — Thomas came across some photographs hanging in a hallway while at a doctor’s appointment at the Chalmers P. Wylie VA Care Center in Columbus. He was informed that the photos had been taken by a veteran receiving services from the hospital and that a VA Art Council was newly formed. Thomas attended the second meeting and things grew from there.
“I was looking for a holistic way to cope with PTSD and found it in art and helping others in a similar situation,” he said.
For more information on Thomas Media and its varied services, or the artists exhibited in the gallery, contact Michael Thomas by phone at 614-329-3915, or view the website at www.thethomasmediagroup.
Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.