Shaakir Thomas – Beyond the Portrait


“Spike lee” – Medium: Mix Media on Panel

By Erin Corrigan

Shaakir Thomas is a talented painter and visual artist, who currently resides in Long Beach, Long Island. His premier focus is dedicated to creating vivacious portraits of people who inspire him most. Currently, Shaakir attends Pratt Institute, striving toward a bachelor’s degree in Illustration and Communications Design. For him, inspiration can really come from anywhere. Certain outlets such as the media, new music, art exhibitions, varying creative pieces and enlightening conversation with others, all play a significant role in Shaakir’s relationship with his own visionary process.


“Gustav Klimt Sketch” – Medium: Watercolor on Paper

For most talented artists, time and money are simply imperative. Shaakir’s chief focus is devoted to painting, but says that it all truly depends upon the amount of time he has on his hands, as well as the amount of cash he has in his pocket. For someone currently enrolled in one of the top twenty colleges in the Regional Universities North category, I believe it is safe to say that the work Mr. Thomas produces is more than respectable; considering what he has to juggle in order to keep a healthy cushion for his artistry. Shaakir says that when he is really crunched for time, he is more inclined to work on components such as charcoal drawings and dry medium pieces. Seeing as though the supplies required for such projects come at a much lower price, Shaakir is ready and able to keep his creative hand moving, without breaking the bank. Regardless of the ingredients used when developing varying works of art, each portrait seems to hold a very significant meaning.


“Bella” – Medium: Oil on Canvas

One piece in specific is titled “Portrait of Lupita”. This masterful work of vibrant, contrasting colors, displays the image of actress Lupita Nyong’o. Shaakir shared with me the inspiration he drew through Lupita’s acceptance speech at the 2014 Oscars. Lupita selflessly put forth her story regarding self acceptance and beauty, influencing Shaakir to create a portrait where all of that courage could shine through and present a loud, confident statement. Not only does Shaakir focus on putting a genuine foundation beneath each of his portraits, he also manages to incorporate a certain energy that illuminates each and every one of them.

Come check out Shaakir Thomas’ effervescent oil, acrylic and water color art displays at this year’s SPARKBOOM kickoff event “Beards, Bards, and BOOM” on Saturday, June 21st at the Walt Whitman Birthplace from 7-10 PM.  You won’t be disappointed! These pieces will also be available for purchase.


IMG_1801Erin Corrigan is an aspiring writer with an open mind. She believes that music, art and poetry are the essential nutrients for every soul. Giving a voice to the budding faces of the literary and fine arts community is what she’s here to accomplish!

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