Artist behind ‘Strokes for Life’ paints portrait for Mike Jackson

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Marc Thomas has been an artist for as long as he can remember. He created paintings for people who are overcoming tough circumstances like PTSD, cancer, and strokes. The idea is to help them heal and have something for them to keep forever. 

When Thomas learned that NBC4 anchor Mike Jackson was recovering from a stroke, he began working on a piece.

Why? Because Thomas has a connection to Jackson. 

“Mike Jackson is actually responsible for the reemergence of my artwork,” said Thomas.   

In 2016, Thomas created a few paintings related to the Olympics. He tried a mass email to local, regional, and national media to get some coverage. Yes, he admits it was a shot in the dark for his career, but he had to try. 

“Mike Jackson was the only one who responded back,” said Thomas. “Ever since then, doors have been opening up.”

He uses a pallette of paint, and plywood. After a little research into people’s lives, careers, and an examination of photos, Thomas begins to plot his course with grid paper. He now uses his talents to help others. He keeps a portfolio of people he painted. For him, it helps to remember people’s situations and keeps them in his thoughts. 

“Some people get cards, or candy and things like that, but to present them with a piece of artwork that will last a lifetime is a moving experience,” Thomas said. 

He considers himself a renaissance man. He has a number of jobs, from personal training, being a DJ, to his artwork. His style is urban abstract expression. He wants to evoke emotions from his subjects’ loved ones. Whether they play music, wear a necklace, or have a striking physical characteristic, he tries to highlight the qualities that make them uniquely them.

“This is a piece I would like for him to have, just a token for that simple gesture,” said Thomas as he pointed to a painting on an easel. 

Jackson’s co-anchor Colleen Marshall visited him on Friday and presented the painting to him. His spirits were high as he cracked jokes as quickly as ever. 

“Is that your new co-anchor,” asked Jackson while pointing toward the painting. “

Incredible,” was his reaction to the likeness of him. “I haven’t aged,” Mike said. 

“It’s about having this gift of art that God has given me and using it for something for the greater good,” said Thomas. 

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