Biography

BIOGRAPHY-IMAGE-1

The artist (center front) with the competition, 1963

Gary Damian Thomas, the son of a creative and dynamic Sicilian mother and a gregarious and inquisitive English-Irish-German-French-Hungarian father, was born December 17th, 1961 – the youngest of six funny, smart and creative children.  As an Air Force brat his life was always changing and once he was old enough to fight for his share of the food, he thrived in the bustling home environment.  By his teens, it was evident that he had a natural talent for art, creative thinking, music and avoiding responsibility.  He enjoyed learning on his own and adopted an easy-going approach to life which most people know as “laziness”.  Not surprisingly, he had no formal education after high school.  By age 22, his parents had grown tired of feeding a full-grown adult, so after receiving a polite shove from the nest, he found himself unhappily working as an assembler in Silicon Valley.  Eventually, Thomas found work as an artist/salesman in the caricature map business. That job convinced most of his friends and family that he had his life in order but In 1988, he found the true inspiration he needed to live up to his potential:  the fear of being dumped by his girlfriend.  He quickly landed a steady job in the art department of the architectural firm, The Dahlin Group.  Before long, he had a working car and could enjoy luxuries like food and shelter.  In his spare time, he mastered watercolors and, with hopes of an easy path to riches in the funny papers, created The Chronic Comic.  That project exploded on the launchpad but he shifted to editorial cartoons and was finally making his mark.  Thomas left his job at the architectural firm to focus full-time on his new craft and soon, more than two-hundred political cartoons were published.  At long last, he found a measure of fame and continued to experience what so many great artists before him had experienced: abject poverty.  In the coming years he further avoided reality by developing a comic strip entitled, Planets, created oil portraits, and began to write screenplays.

By 1995, Thomas had relocated to Hollywood and become a film and commercial storyboard artist.  He was offered representation by Storyboards Inc. and was accepted into the Illustrators and Matte Artists Union.  By the summer of 1996 he was actually earning a living and had worked with well known directors including Wes Craven (Scream) and Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential).

During the next four years, Thomas wrote several short stories and treatments and more storyboards followed.  On January 1st, 2000, Gary married the plucky and vivacious, Marlena Wilkins.  She was a positive factor in Gary’s life and, as the executive assistant to mega-producer, Roger Birnbaum she was essential to his career success.  Gary showed his gratitude in 2002 by writing the twelve Marlena Sonnets.  She was amazed at how her husband had so cleverly avoided buying her something nice like jewelry.   Gary’s  only child, Lydia was born later that year.

Thomas was briefly involved in feature film animation after joining Dreamworks Animation as a story artist on the film Kung Fu Panda but having tired of the business, he took a break from earning a living to paint in the impressionistic style of plein air Thomas found another diversion when comedy giant and close friend, David Zucker took pity on Gary and hired him for the job of illustrating and co-writing a children’s book entitled Sara’s Story, which was based on the Zucker family history.  He also wrote the poem For My Dad and he staged a successful show of his plein air work where 13 of 26 paintings were sold – just enough to pay for the framing and the show!

By 2005, Gary returned to story boarding and things like paying bills.  In the coming years he would work on over sixty more films including Tropic Thunder, Zombieland, Zero Dark Thirty, and the Oscar-winning best picture The Hurt Locker.  He has since received high praise from such A-list directors as Kathryn Bigelow, Denzel Washington and Ben Stiller.

In 2008, Thomas set the nearly impossible goal of becoming a writer/director.  In 2009, figuring that a “writer” should have “original” material, he wrote a raucous romantic comedy entitled Bewilderness and in 2010, inspired by events in his own life, wrote, produced and directed a spec TV pilot called Kinderparents.  In 2011, he wrote a poetic romantic comedy called Little Gods, and since his daughter was old enough to exploit, directed her in the spec commercial, Wake the kids.    In 2012, Thomas wrote two more spec screenplays: a campy horror film, Bad Crab! and a kid-friendly romantic comedy, I Found A Cowboy In 2013, Thomas produced, and directed an animatic for Bad Crab!   and in 2014, Thomas, apparently unaware that he could stop,  wrote yet another romantic comedy, The Slump Breaker.  In 2015, Thomas continued to work as a storyboard artist and completed several more films including the Rocky sequel:  Creed He also completed the second and third in a trio of poems honoring his parents with,  A Mom’s Poem and The Mysterious Mr. Bill.   Thomas also wrote, produced and directed an award-winning original short film, Downhill 

 In 2016, Thomas completed storyboards for more films including Marvel’s Black Panther.  He also wrote a musical entitled, POTUS. And then the 2016 election happened…  So that project got shelved.

In 2017, Thomas did storyboards for Sony/Marvel’s Venom and, taking a break from writing, Thomas returned to composing.   In homage to his favorite composer, Brahms, he composed the Sonata for Piano and Clarinet.    Other compositions  included Waltzs No. 1 & 2 and Intermezzo No. 1 & 2 .

In 2018, Thomas finished more musical compositions including Waltzes 3, 4 & 5,  Intermezzo no. 3 and a Piano Sonata No 1 in D ( in the Classical Style)completed a new screenplay entitled, The Hacker’s Apprentice.   In 2019, Gary completed storyboard work on Morbius and  Zombieland – Double Tap, and Yes Day.

On September 4th, 2019, Thomas released the indie-pop album What The Hell Do I Know?   by his virtual band, Narcissistance, in which his daughter Lydia provided the lead vocals.

In fall 2019, Thomas was recruited to storyboard the Kevin Hart/Woody Harrelson comedy action pic,  The Man From Toronto and in early 2020 he was hired to storyboard scenes from Sony’s long awaited film adaptation of the world famous video game Uncharted.

Due to the Covid -19 Pandemic, Thomas was forced to retreat like the rest of the humanity, and took shelter in his Venice home with his family.

During the summer of 2020 Thomas composed the Piano Sonata No.2. In F Minor and Piano Sonata No. 3 in A Flat Major– which completed his set of classical style sonatas.

Between October 4th through the 8th, 2020, during a rather manic episode, Thomas composed his first Piano Sonatas using modern harmony.   Sonata No.4, subtitled  Prednisone to reflect the medicine he was taking to deal with an inner ear problem.  The sonata’s first movement, depicting a musical transcription of mania, is followed by a gut wrenching survey of the pandemic and the political sickness that mirrors it, and concludes with a dizzying thrill ride with modern classical harmony mixed with 70’s style prog-rock energy.   Sonata no. 5   further develops on the modern harmonic path.  It’s four movement structure begins with a   modern take on a renaissance style.  The second movement is a deep meditation in 12/10 time with certain moments touching what would be considered as jazz chords.  The third is a pure roller coster ride – serving as a modern scherzo (joke – as the classical composers called them).  Lastly,  the fourth movement begins as an almost romantic march but is transformed with every measure – rejecting the familiar, expected modulations and finally surrendering in total to modern harmony, although listeners will note a final salute to 19th century modes in the final measures.

In the last quarter of 2020, Thomas completed storyboard work on an untitled Mark Boal series for Apple TV and began work on the movie adaptation of the video game Borderlands with Eli Roth directing.  

In April, 2021, Thomas completed the final Piano Sonata for his set of Six Piano Sonatas.

By summer 2022, Gary completed boards for Ghosted, directed by Dexter Fletcher and staring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas and Wonder Twins, staring KJ Apa and Isabel May.  Unfortunately this project was cancelled after the merger of Warner Media and The Discover Channel.  

In May of 2022, Gary, for the first time in his life  was hired to write a screenplay!  Details to come!  

Contact Gary:  yes@garythomas.info

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