We had the good fortune of connecting with Thomas W Schaller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Thomas W, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Learning to listen to my own advice. I think that in trying to make our way in the world, all of us are affected by the input of too many others. When starting out, we look to others who are more successful, more well-known, more confident, just.. more. Up to a point that’s OK, but over time, our own voice can start to recede into the background. But once we realize that – to a large extent – we already know who we are, what it is we want, what we may be capable of, and of our own worth. We don’t need that much validation or “permission” from anyone. Once we accept this, our own voice becomes stronger and easier to understand. And our path becomes more clear.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
All we experience as we move through the world forms us as people and as artists. But what we look at is not necessarily all we see. There are as many internal landscapes as there are external ones from which to take inspiration. My paintings are formed as much from what I see in dreams, memory, and pure invention, as they are from any real-world observation.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have had a number of such visits and one of the biggest mistakes I can make is to plan an itinerary. Many valuable days can be passed with a great friend just talking – and not talking – wandering aimlessly. Let’s just see what the world has to offer
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As artists, we become used to working alone and developing our own approach. But none of us travel out road alone. I would be nowhere with the inspiration and support of my many students and the groups and organizations who helped put us all together. The San Diego Watercolor Society is one of the very best such organizations to which I owe so much