Charlie Thomason is an Artist and Web Developer from Chicago. He has a M.A. in New Media Studies from DePaul University and a B.F.A. in Art Studio from the University of Kentucky. Charlie’s first self-published photography book, Open Range: From Monument Valley to the Mojave Desert, was released in 2012.
As a Web Developer, Charlie is most proficient in HTML5, CSS3, Responsive layouts, WordPress theme design, Adobe Creative Suite, and online marketing technologies. As an Artist, Charlie's primary mediums are oil and watercolor paints, ink brush, and digital photography.
In 1999, Charlie discovered two things that would change his life: HTML and Adobe Photoshop. He began experimenting with these and other, new technologies and was eventually enlisted to build a new website for his high school. As an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky, Charlie took courses in the Adobe Creative Suite, HTML/CSS, and visual composition and began experimenting with WordPress, social media, and other web applications. Charlie also launched his first personal blog in 2006, which he used to publish articles about independent films and film history.
In 2008, Charlie moved to Chicago and began studying Internet marketing and web design at DePaul University’s Masters of Arts in New Media Studies. From 2008 through 2010, he also had the opportunity to work on many exciting freelance projects and internships such as:
Charlie earned his MA degree in 2010 and then began working for the University of Chicago’s University Communications/News Office team. There, he was responsible for content management and development of the Drupal-based UChicago News site, as well as creating and managing the University’s iTunes U campaign and other social media initiatives.
In Fall of 2011, Charlie decided to return to the agency world and began working freelance for the Chicago-based web development and marketing agency, The Plum Tree Group. At Plum Tree, Charlie helped create and execute marketing strategies for small businesses, develop WordPress blogs, Magento websites, and email templates, as well as edit and develop content for internal marketing initiatives.
In early 2012, Charlie was accepted into the Winter 2012 Web Development Program at Code Academy in downtown Chicago, where he learned about Ruby on Rails, Git, HTML5, CSS3, responsive design, and test-driven development. The program also introduced Charlie to new concepts about entrepreneurism and the emerging Chicago Tech Start-up community. Through the program, Charlie began developing the first version of a Rails-based shopping cart app that could be used to sell his original art work and prints. At Code Academy’s 2nd-annual Demo Day event on March 28, 2012, Charlie announced he would be launching his own art business named Bleachwave, which he is now continuing to work on and will be launching soon.
All his life, Charlie wanted to be an artist. Growing up in New Jersey, he became involved with dozens of art-related programs outside of school and learned the fundamentals of two- dimensional composition, color theory, painting and drawing at a very young age. By his senior year of high school, he had ostensibly become a teacher’s assistant in his art classes and knew without question that he would be studying art in college.
Charlie began studying Studio Art and Graphic Design at the University of Kentucky in 2003 and, in 2006, was accepted into their exclusive Bachelor of Fine Arts program. There, he studied oil painting, silkscreen printmaking, 35mm photography, digital photo editing, and much more. Through 2008, Charlie’s work was featured in several group exhibitions at galleries on campus and in downtown Lexington, KY, as well as two solo exhibitions at the Historic Kentucky Theatre.
When Charlie moved to Chicago for graduate school in 2008, his focus temporarily shifted from art to web development. However, he did have the opportunity to create an original painting and cover art design for his cousin James Stone’s first book, The Murder of Mingo Jack: New Jersey’s Only Nineteenth-Century Murder. The project was a significant challenge given that no photographs currently exist of Samuel “Mingo Jack” Johnson and thus, his likeness had to be conceptualized based on the evidence presented in the book. The book can now be purchased from most major online retailers.
During this time, he also became very active as a digital photographer and began experimenting with high-dynamic range (HDR), long exposure, and Micro Four Thirds photography. Through these photographic techniques, Charlie managed to achieve a new stylistic intensity that had never been seen in his traditional art before. Charlie’s primary camera of choice is now the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 “pancake” lens.
In the Summer of 2011, Charlie had 2 digital photographs accepted into an exhibition at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival in Chicago. The exhibition, entitled Reframing Ruin: A Prelude to the Bloomingdale Trail, attempted to draw attention to an on-going initiative to convert the old Bloomingdale rail embankment in Logan Square, Chicago into “an elevated, multi-use, linear park and trail.” The goal was to photograph the Trail in its present, pre-construction condition, yet in a way that alludes to the potential the land has for the future. One of Charlie’s submissions was an HDR image, while the other made use of long exposure.
That same summer, Charlie traveled to Arizona, Utah and California to begin working on his first, self-published photography book. Using a combination of 35mm film, digital, HDR, Polaroid instant film, and iPhone photography, he captured various regions of the Navajo Nation, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Joshua Tree National Park, and beyond. In January 2012, Open Range: From Monument Valley to the Mojave Desert was published through Blurb.com in hardcover, softcover and eBook editions. Charlie hopes to publish many more books in the future.