By Tashina Tappin
From Oct. 23-28, the Student Art League (S.A.L) Gallery showcased the work of graduate art student, Thomas Alma. He uses painting as creative outlet and a way to escape the world into his imagination. Alma showed several of his paintings, most of them being some of his older works. A reception was held on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 5-8 p.m.
This was Alma’s first solo art exhibition, “It’s really overwhelming and the space is kind of intimidating,” he said. In the past, Alma had been chosen from hundreds of artists to have his work featured in a show by Long Island Art Educators.
As a resident of Long Beach, he gets most of his inspiration from the ocean. It is the primary subject of his series “Shore? Sure!” “A big part of my being is the ocean and being by the water,” Alma said. Whether it is in the hot months of the summer or in the cold of winter doing a polar bear run, the beach is where you can find him. “Knowing him as a friend helps you to be able to see and understand the different aspects of his life coming through his artwork,” Bryan Murphy, Alma’s friend, said.
He primarily works with acrylic, arranging it in an array of different colors and techniques. Some of his favorite styles of art include impressionism, post-impressionism, abstract art and cubism. Alma favors the artist Pablo Picasso. “He’s so brave in trying to remain innocent without actually being innocent,” he said. Alma does not focus on reaching a specific end result with his artwork. “I enjoy the process and the emotion involved with that process,” he said.
Seung Lee, director of fine arts and graduate students, taught Alma for the past two years and noted his growth as an artist. “Someone who has done as much work as Thomas should be able to showcase his pieces in a professional setting,” Lee said, “It is important that artists know how to promote themselves and their works.”
“It is commendable the things that he can do within his artwork and how well he works with color,” Mark Webster, artist and friend of Alma, said. As he continues to influence the young minds of tomorrow, this may be his first solo show, but not his last.