Rachel Elise Thomas | AADL Black Lives Matter Muralist


Rachel Elise Thomas | AADL BLM mural

Rachel Elise Thomas (b. 1988)
Instagram: @implied_wisdom

Following the Ann Arbor District Library's Call for Artists in 2020, AADL installed a Black Lives Matter mural on the south side of Library Lane on Friday, May 21 featuring the works of eight artists.

Below is our interview with muralist Rachel Elise Thomas.

Rachel Elise Thomas | AADL BLM muralist

Q: Tell us about yourself.
A: My hometown is Detroit. Now I live in the woods with all my woodland animal friends. I have a BFA in Photography from the College for Creative Studies, and I'm a professional freelance artist and photographer

Q: What's your earliest memory of making art and your earliest memory of being affected by art?
A: My earliest memory of creating art was in elementary school where I made art in various mediums. Art class was my favorite subject, it made me so happy and it was something I excelled in. During summer vacation, I would literally spend all day drawing on blank white printer paper. I would draw fictional characters, create my own comics, and paint. I would also sew fabric onto my dolls and make them outfits—just creating to my heart’s content. My earliest memory of being affected by art was also in elementary school when a classmate decided to help me “finish” a paper mosaic tree landscape I was working on by scribbling on it. I was very upset. 

Q: Tell us about your mural and your art.
A: ABUNDANCE is a collage that’s a glimpse into my subconscious, I think of it as being an alternate world that exists only in my mind that I’m allowing the viewer to see. In this work, I am the protagonist. I used an old picture of myself from when I was a child as well as other imagery that holds its own significance with what I interpret as abundance. The text adds not only as support to the other images, the deconstructed words and phrases are part of my internal monologue—it’s a positive affirmation for me in my journey of self/material growth. This piece took three weeks to complete. Everything in this collage is scanned material that I own. I dug through my archives of family photographs and used an image of me I’ve been wanting to use for a while now. I incorporated imagery from my vintage EbonyJet and, The Source magazines. I also incorporated part of a grocery store circular that I found from when I was in the Bronx a few summers ago. This collage also contains imagery, words, and phrases from different advertisements, physical currency that I also scanned, and something I photographed previously. 

AADL Black Lives Matter muralist interviews:

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