Prince Varughese Thomas

"Masters of the Universe", by Prince Varughese Thomas, is an exhibition of portraits of top earning YouTube stars who are known as “content creators” with a substantial subscriber base earning them millions of dollars in income. The portraits that Thomas has created span the range from serious content creators who use their creativity to produce thoughtful and engaging material, to those that use their platform as a mode for absurdity or kitschy antics. Through the sea of fluff on YouTube, the platform has likewise given a voice to many of those marginalized or underrepresented communities who would not have had one otherwise. The portraits, which are appropriated from the Internet, are then integrated into famous paintings by Masters such as Rembrandt, David, or Goya, to humorously give gravitas to this cultural phenomenon. Prince Varughese Thomas’ "The Light of Other Days" is a drawing series that intersects Thomas’ interests in news and journalism with his explorations into the process of grief and mourning in private and public contexts. Referencing print media, specifically images found in newspapers, the series of charcoal drawings are drawn as half-tone patterns that are influenced by various tragic events, including murder, violence, migration, terrorism, and environmental tragedies that have occurred around the world and speak to our times. From these original press photos, Thomas has distilled, fragmented, and restructured distinct moments that express painful loss in global terms that speak directly toward the state of the world. As an Indian immigrant born in Kuwait, partly raised in India, and naturalized in the United States, Thomas is part of what has come to be known as the Indian Diaspora. His studio practice is influenced by his ethnicity and the racial prejudices he has faced throughout his life. From the Iran Hostage crisis in the 70’s, to aggressions in Libya in the 80’s, to the first Gulf War in the 90’s, and then 9/11, each decade of Thomas’ life has been marked with prejudice that has been projected onto him by those who have perceived him as an enemy or threat. This experience of otherness through his formative years to adulthood has affected how he looks at society—with open eyes and with attempts to investigate places that he finds worthy of critique, exploration, and making art—creating works that deconstruct complex issues and humanize his subjects. Thomas received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington and M.F.A. from the University of Houston. A winner of the Time-Based Media in Art Prize 7 and a Texas Biennial Artist, Thomas has been invited to be a visiting artist, lecturer, panel discussant, and workshop instructor at numerous institutions including Ashkal Alwan (Beirut, Lebanon), Indiana University, Memphis College of Art (TN), the Light Factory (Charlotte, NC), and the Queens Museum (NY). His work has been exhibited in over 175 solo and group exhibitions at numerous museums, galleries, and alternative spaces. His work is represented in the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Thomas is currently a Professor of Art at Lamar University.

Portrait of Lilly Singh

Portrait of Lilly Singh, 2019, pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 20 x 20", ed. of 10

Portrait of Jeffree Star

Portrait of Jeffree Star, 2019, pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 20 x 20", ed. of 10

Portrait of Jenna Marbles

Portrait of Jenna Marbles, 2019, pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 20 x 20", ed. of 10

Portrait of Logan Paul

Portrait of Logan Paul, 2019, pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 20 x 20", ed. of 10

Portrait of Liza Koshy

Portrait of Liza Koshy, 2019, pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 20 x 20", ed. of 10

Portrait of PewDiePie

Portrait of PewDiePie, 2019, pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 20 x 20", ed. of 10

Portrait of Tana Mongeau

Portrait of Tana Mongeau, 2019, pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 20 x 20", ed. of 10

Portrait of Markiplier

Markiplier, 2019, pigment print on Hahnemuhle photo rag, 20 x 20", ed. of 10

Jackie Meets Coretta

Prince Varughese Thomas, "Jackie Meets Coretta", 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 10 x 14"

Police Shooting

Police Shooting, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 13 x 11"

School Shooting

Drug Wars

Drug Wars, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Another School Shooting

Another School Shooting, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Camelot Falls

Camelot Falls, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Natural Disaster

Natural Disaster, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Election Night

Election Night, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Suicide Bombing

Suicide Bombing, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Funeral March

Funeral March, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Another Natural Disaster

Another Natural Disaster, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 22 x 30"

Honor Killing

Honor Killing, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 10 x 14"

War Atrocity

War Atrocity, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 10 x 14"

Theater Shooting

Theater Shooting, 2019, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 13 x 11"

Ancestors V

Ancestors V, 2018, pigment print on metallic warm paper, 24 x 35", ed. 1/5, AP

Ancestors X

Ancestors X, 2018, pigment print on metallic warm paper, 24 x 35", ed. 1/5, AP

Ancestors XIX

Ancestors XIX, 2018, pigment print on metallic warm paper, 24 x 35", ed. 1/5, AP

Valais, Switzerland:...

Valais, Switzerland: March 13, 2012, 2017, charcoal on stonehenge paper, 30 x 44"/f.s. 38 x 51 1/2"

Paris, France:...

Paris, France: November 13, 2015, 2017, charcoal on stonehenge paper, 30 x 44"/f.s. 38 x 51 1/2"

Sold Inventory

Ancestors XII

Ancestors XII, 2018, pigment print on metallic warm paper, 24 x 35", ed. 1/5, AP

Pyongyang, North Korea...

Pyongyang, North Korea: December 17, 2011, 2017, charcoal on stonehenge paper, 30 x 44"/f.s. 38 x 51 1/2"