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LIVE Magazine by Levvy Carriker John Thoman grew up in New Jersey where he learned to love and appreciate art. It wasn’t until he went to England in the fall of 2012 that he was inspired to make his own. He went to Liverpool to visit his mother’s grave site. He saw the stained glass in the windows of St. Michael’s Church in Liverpool. He was inspired with a knowing that he would learn the art of creating his own stained glass. The following spring, he took lessons from Don Dietz at the Desert Art Center for a couple of months and is now creating his own designs and scenes. He has been a featured artist, taped in his studio by KESQ, CBS Local 2 News. They came to John’s studio and included him in Eye On The Desert. Outlaw Radio Show with Magic Matt Alan & Producer Lori Downey, Jr. featured John with his stained glass work commissioned for the Radio Show. In 2016, John taught himself to do stained glass portraits. He has created stained glass logos for local businesses in Palm Springs. John says he feels very blessed to help support good causes through his work, so he is a big giver. He has helped raise money with his art for many organizations, like Desert Aids Project, Desert Arc, Wounded Warriors Project, Breast Cancer Research, Bianca Rae Foundation, The Flower Bank, Christopher’s Clubhouse, American Outreach, ACT for Multiple Sclerosis, Painted Hills Middle School, and Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert. John’s pieces have sold in England, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, and in the United States in Illinois, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, and California. John is a juried gallery member of the Desert Art Center.
Levvy: Where were you born? John: Irvington, NJ L: How did you learn that you loved stained glass art and decide to create with it as art? J: It was 2012 when I was visiting my mother's grave at St. Michael’s Church, in Garston, Liverpool, England. I was putting flowers on her grave on a nice sunny day. The church was having church services. We went in and sat down, said a prayer, and the glass from the windows were just gleaming onto me. I walked up and had this feeling that I was supposed to do this artform and make it my own. I wanted to do it my way. When I got back to the states, I found Don Dietz at Desert Art Center, here in Palm Springs, who taught me how to do stained glass. “I was putting flowers on my Mother’s grave on a nice sunny day in Liverpool, England. The St Michael’s Church in Garston, was having church services. We went in and sat down, said a prayer, and the glass from the windows were just gleaming onto me. I walked up and had this feeling that I was supposed to do this artform and make it my own. I wanted to do it my way.” L: What was your first piece and what inspired it? J: My first piece was a butterfly. I was at a coffee shop with Michael Maler, the owner of Espresso Cielo. I told Michael that I wanted to do some charity and he suggested DAP and we sold over a hundred butterflies displayed in his coffee shop. L: You do a lot of charity work. What are some of the other organizations that you support? J: Christopher's Clubhouse (founder Mika Moulton), The Flower Bank, the Bianca Rae Foundation, Desert Arc, Breast Cancer Awareness, ACT for MS, Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs, Wounded Warrior Project, American Outreach, and the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert. L: Where do you sell your work? J: You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and the Desert Art Center in Palm Springs. L: Tell me about the Desert Art Center? J: The Desert Art Center is the oldest community based art organization in the Coachella Valley. Their mission is to stimulate, educate, and nurture the visual arts through a collaborative effort of membership programs, art education, and gallery space for emerging and established artists. The DAC supports children's art education through their Middle School Art Project, LIVEMAGAZINETV 33