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Thomas Studios features unique artists and artisans including owner Shaun Thomas

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Thomas Studios opened its doors in August of 2018, showcasing not only the works of three talented artists, Casey Parlette, Erik Skoldberg, and owner, designer, and featured artist Shaun Thomas, but several other artisans and designers of modern and mid-century lighting, vases, and furniture. 

The organically growing “Thomas Collection” has quickly become a style guide sought after by many clients and collectors for their homes and businesses. From the moment visitors walk in, they immediately get a sense of the unique, coastal, and warmer contemporary style. 

Thomas says, “The positive feedback has been amazing and so fulfilling. It really helps motivate and push my creativity in both my artwork and ideas that I want to pursue, adding to the ever-changing gallery experience. I have truly found what I love to do, and I can’t get enough of it.” 

Thomas Studios interior

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 (L-R) Thomas’ “Sun and Moon,” Skoldberg’s surfboards and vibrant painting, and Parlette’s “Old Timer” lobster sculpture on table

Growing up in Rancho Santa Margarita, most days Thomas could be found down in San Clemente surfing. As a graphic designer, he had years of experience branding companies, creating and designing their online presence and printed material. 

Thomas says, “I had a good track record, always surpassing my client’s needs and expectations. It’s the perfectionist in me that established a high standard and style as a designer. It’s not until I moved to San Clemente five years ago, that I first started creating my own artwork to fill empty walls that needed some love. Merging my passions for surfing and for graphic design, I created my own recognizable signature style of artwork.”

Thomas Studios Shaun

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Shaun with his “Nautilus Shell” 

However, creating art and opening up a gallery are two different endeavors. 

Thomas says, “For the past few years, making a name for myself as an artist, I kept running into an issue with customers and collectors on where to send them if they wanted to see my work in person, purchase a piece, or talk about a custom commission. Having a location with a variety of different pieces to view in one spot is so important in the art world, especially my work as the pieces are multi-layered and images don’t do it justice.

“If I was going to take this art venture seriously, I really needed to go all in. I began driving around Orange County in search to possibly open up a location and found myself, more often than not, talking to a lot of business owners about their experience with their business. You cannot rely simply on ‘tourist season’ or ‘busy season’ anymore. Selling average products or services just doesn’t work.”

Thomas Studios upstairs

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Upstairs at Thomas Studios

On the search for the perfect gallery location, Thomas drove up and down the local coast, eventually stumbling upon a location in downtown Laguna. 

According to Thomas, with his popular Wood Wave Sculptures being collected in surf or beach towns all over the world, opening up a gallery in Laguna seemed like the perfect spot. 

“After my first visit to the vacant space near downtown, which used to be the Drizzle Pop Art Studio, I immediately began visualizing ideas of what type of gallery I wanted to build. The place needed a lot of work, but I could see the potential.”

Thomas Studios goldfish

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 Casey Parlette’s “Limited Resources”

“Knowing I had to create something unique and different from the traditional art gallery, I began selecting designer furniture, lighting, and decor items that I thought fit my style and complemented my work. I decided to add to the experience two other artists that I have been a personal fan of for a couple of years.” 

Thomas admits that both Parlette with his coastal-inspired wildlife sculptures and Skoldberg with his vibrant and energetic contemporary paintings, have helped create an amazing collection of work. 

“Teaming up with these talented designers, creators, and artists that are truly passionate about their work has been such an amazing experience. It’s what keeps fueling my passion.” 

Thomas Studios is located at 550 S. Coast Hwy #5.

Showroom hours are Thursday - Sunday, from 1 to 7 p.m.

For more information, go to www.ThomasStudiosLaguna.com or call (949) 274-9023.