Thrush Keats Byron Holmes is a Toronto-based painter who explores traditional artistic themes in an unapologetically contemporary, irreverently playful, aggressively energetic way. It is both spontaneous and experimental, spanning imagery from reclining nudes, matisse-like flowers, and poetic landscapes that contrast with a punk sensibility. Holmes’ paintings are made contemporary by their varied and inventive use of materials (spray paint, neon light, driveway sealant and oil stick), which elevate an aggressive exploration of romance and mythology. Romantic and idealistic, his naive forms (nudes, rainbows, still life florals) reference modernists like Picasso and Matisse, dissolving studies further into dripping, crude gestures of oil stick and neon light. One glance at his work and you’d assume the artist is as brash and bombastic as his ouevre, and yet Holmes is kind, soft spoken and tenacious. Entirely self-taught outside two weeks in art school – where he quit after being told he couldn’t fast-track to his final year – Holmes’ process mirrors his ambitions. 20-ft paintings are made in a single sitting, and the initials ‘TH’ are often large enough in the bottom corner of a piece to be considered a compositional element.
His work is found in permanent collections worldwide including the Elton John Aids Foundation, Sony Music, Dreamworks Studio, and Def Jam Records among others.