Thomas Van Auken

Thomas Van Auken decided to become an artist while drawing a horse in the first grade. Since then he has focused on drawing and painting, working and experimenting with a variety of materials, primarily oil paint. His subjects range from figure studies and self portraits to landscapes and streetscapes. 

Van Auken often paints places where humanity is implied but not present—highways, utility lines, construction sites, and abandoned buildings—symbols of urban development or suburban decay. His observational renderings of commonplace, manmade environments prompt the viewer to look closely at those sites we frequent yet rarely notice. Painting and drawing directly from life, Van Auken documents these places, at all hours of the day and night, as austere backdrops of our everyday existence.

I like painting ordinary things and places. I like the way that just observing an ordinary thing can make it remarkable.
— Thomas Van Auken



Caroline produces videos for LookSEE, shedding light on artists’ ways of thinking and making.