The Next Level
With a love of drawing dating back to early childhood, Kiko Thomas has never let hardship stand in the way of his artistic ambitions. His collages incorporate photos, drawings, and painting to capture the human experience from the viewpoint of people trapped on society’s fringes. After studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art and working in his hometown of Houston, Kiko came to Los Angeles for what he thought would be a brief visit. Thirteen years later, he has made Southern California his base of operations — with SMC an essential part of his creative growth.
Kiko refined his technique at SMC, where he also took part in the Art History Club, because he knows that understanding that past helps build an artist’s creative future. “Without this knowledge, you will not be able to make work that is authentic,” he said. His talent has been recognized through exhibitions at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and other venues.
A curator as well as an artist, Kiko was selected for the prestigious Mellon Curatorial Fellowship by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily closed the museum and delayed the opportunity. Kiko will continue his creative journey by attending UC San Diego. Ultimately, he plans to earn a PhD in Museum Curating. Still, no matter where his career as an artist and curator takes him, he said he will remain grateful to SMC’s faculty for “not just teaching but caring.” SMC “has changed my life for the better,” Kiko said “Now I’m ready to continue my education at the next level.”
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