COLUMBUS (WCMH) — He’s a personal trainer and a DJ, but his true love, aside from his wife, is art.
Marc Thomas is the artist behind Strokes for Life Art, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people get through a tough time like the loss of a loved one or someone battling cancer.
Weeks ago, he painted the Dayton nine who were killed in a mass shooting earlier this month and gave that artwork to the victims’ families for free.
Thomas has been an artist since he was in elementary school.
He has a series of artwork through his non-profit organization, but recently he started painting to help loved ones get through the pain.
First Thomas sketches his subjects on grid paper and then he does research into their lives and careers.
Since he didn’t know any of the victims of the mass shootings in Dayton or El Paso, Texas, he watched the news and when family and friends talked about losing their loved ones he used those details in his art.
“A lot of people they give lip service. ‘Hey, if you need anything, I’m there. Hey, I’m praying for you … But they don’t follow through … But (I want to) give them something tangible, that’s permanent,” Thomas said.
Thomas says his talent is a gift from God and he just has to share it.
He describes his style as urban abstract loaded with love and not caricatures.
Thomas uses a pallet of paint and a whole lot of plywood and sadly, he says, there’s always something to create.
This week, Thomas is working on sketches of two teenagers who were killed in a head-on collision while they were students at Teays Valley High School.
He will deliver the sketches to the principal of the high school to share them to their families.
“It’s not just about just the painting. It’s actually delivering it to them and allowing them to just be grateful and talk and have that moment because sometimes they don’t … Sitting there listening to how they talk about them and how they remember them. That’s what puts the icing on the cake,” Thomas said.