Over several decades, Jeffrey Thomas has built long-lasting relationships with a global range of established artists, galleries and auction houses. Jeffrey supplies his clients with an insider's entree to the complex world of collecting artwork, and he combines both education and engagement to create a custom program that is tailored to particular interests.
As an art consultant and sounding board for new artistic visions that can only make Portland a better place to live, Jeffrey is an enthusiastic champion of the fine art community. In both his online postings and his curatorial prowess, Jeffrey serves as one of our most passionate arts advocates at a time when our city’s cultural evolution is being finally recognized and fully realized.
THE EARLY YEARS
Jeffrey has participated in the colorful history of contemporary American art blended into his bloodline from an early age. Born into a family of artists, curators and collectors, Jeffrey has had an art education that has nurtured and challenged him since he was child growing up in Los Angeles. Here Jeffrey is at home in red pajamas in 1965:
Jamison - Thomas
After graduating from Reed College, Jeffrey was awarded a Watson Fellowship to travel across Europe to South India. Eventually settling back in Portland after these world travels, he took a job with William Jamison’s Folkcraft Gallery which showcased the work of artists from around the world, and was a natural fit for Jeffrey’s stories of far-flung places and building enduring ftiendships. In 1985, Thomas became a full partner and the Jamion/Thomas Gallery was born.
As the gallery’s focus shifted from folk art to contemporary art with an “outsider” edge, the two owners saw the need for expansion beyond Portland. In 1986, Jamison/Thomas New York opened its doors in a tiny storefront on the West Village’s Thompson Street. In 1988 the Jamison/Thomas gallery moved into a former brassiere factory in Soho, eventually curating and installing over 40 solo and group exhibitions to critical acclaim in Artforum. Artnews and Art in America.
Family Man & Advertising
As the cofounder and director of Jamison/Thomas Gallery, one of Portland’s seminal contemporary art venues, Jeffrey helped to make the map that so many organizations and individuals have used since the mid 1980’s to define and expand our city’s creative sector.
While much of Jeffrey’s early career focused on the commercial gallery and visual arts’ world, including a ten-year period of owning and operating Jamison/Thomas galleries in Portland and in New York City, in 1992 with two little babies in his arms, Jeffrey returned to Portland as a family man and changed gears. He spent four years as retail division manager helping Jim Kelly build Rejuvenation House Parts and Lighting.
Since the mid-nineties he has worked in the field of creative advertising, first as an account director at YRG for five years, then as a commercial photoshoot producer working with Polara Studios for years. Jeffrey is respected as a reliable, experienced and articulate team player on numerous creative projects in the Portland area for the past thirty years. His management experience and his relationships with local business and creative leaders have been invaluable to his work.
Museum of Contemporary Craft
In 2013, Jeffrey completed his term as interim Director of the Museum of Contemporary Craft where he worked principally on the development of an exhibition and programming strategy to generate an expansive range of community and tourist audiences. Jeffrey also worked to advance the Museum’s design initiative by recruiting and forming a leadership design council, continuing the development of strategies to incorporate design into the Museum’s mission and exhibitions, and helping to develop high quality exhibitions within the next three years that highlight the Museum’s unique role in craft and design in the region.
Today, the Museum has flourished with a remarkable record of distinction and holds an exceptional place in our nation’s American Craft history.
While Jeffrey was the Director for the Museum of Contemporary Craft, which was moving to the cutting edge of "critical craft" in its exhibitions, he saw a real need and opportunity for a community-minded gallery focused on the generations of clay artists who had made Oregon their home and contributed so much to the cultural distinctions of this region.
Ideally, this place would serve as a hub for the clay community: a modest but enduring place that would embrace the craft and artisan movement here in Portland, and where the young and the old could share their experiences and exchange their ideas.
So at the beginning of 2013, Jeffrey joined forces with the Mudshark Studios crew to form the Eutectic Gallery for Contemporary Ceramics, bringing his gallery expertise and innovative curatorial background to increase awareness and support for the Oregon clay community.
February 2014 marked the Eutectic Gallery’s wildly successful first year as a vibrant center for viewing contemporary American ceramic artwork in Portland. Once Eutectic was up and running smoothly, Jeffrey felt that the time was right to step away from the day-to-day operations and focus his time on developing a national audience for art advisory and brokerage services.
Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art
Over his many years as a gallery owner and artist representative, Jeffrey has been tasked with the stewardship of a growing collection of art objects, the curatorship of exciting and relevant exhibitions and the outreach of various programs to engage the Portland community.
Now he has created Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art as a primary and discrete resource of related fine art services for private and institutional collectors. Whether it is the simple assessment of lighting needs, or the complex and comprehensive management of an art collection, Jeffrey can assist you in making the right decision that is the best solution for your project.