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Arts | First Friday 

A "Totem of Losers" among this month's gallery offerings

click to enlarge Portraits by John F. Thamm
  • Portraits by John F. Thamm

Peaceful Valley resident John F. Thamm's latest exhibit, showing this month at downtown Spokane's renowned Kolva-Sullivan Gallery, gets right to the heart of our current political climate. The collection of oil-on-canvas portraits — titled "Choice?" — depicts the likeness of two very familiar faces; Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Also included in the collection: the "Totem of Losers," featuring Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie.

Thamm has long relished creating artwork inspired by political and social issues, and other works over the span of his career make statements about humanity's views on war, politics and religion. Back in 2010, Thamm published a book featuring 50 portraits of local servicemen and women from all branches of the military, setting up an easel in the lobby of the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane to transfer their likenesses onto canvas.

Early in Thamm’s career he became friends with Bob Ross, while Ross was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, and the two friends would often paint together in Thamm’s Peaceful Valley studio. Throughout his artistic career, Thamm has also worked as a courtroom sketch artist, covering high-profile events including Ruby Ridge, the Aryan Nations in North Idaho and the siege at Waco. This latest exhibit builds on Thamm’s years of experience as an accomplished portrait artist and decades of observations about how society reacts to tragedy, hypocrisy and corruption.

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