In May 2018, Brandon Thomas graduated from Otis College of Art & Design with a BFA in Toy Design. The summer of his junior year, Thomas traveled with Otis to the village of Jacaranda, Malawi where he taught toy design workshops to the local youth. His visit in Malawi made him aware that there was a dire need for quality shoes and he returned home inspired to create a durable and sustainable shoe. Thomas is collaborating with his colleagues and fellow Otis alumni at Alpha Complex and Q4 Sports to design and produce a shoe using recycled materials such as denim and cork. This grant is funding phase one of this project, dubbed Shoe Town, to develop the shoe prototype. The next step will be developing a plan for production, ideally in partnership with an
established business entity, with the ultimate vision to manufacture the shoes in Malawi.
Before moving to Los Angeles to attend Otis, Thomas lived in New Iberia, Louisiana working as a fulltime firefighter and sous-chef in a New Orleans-style restaurant. However, his heart was always rooted in his creative practice and he continued to paint at home and volunteered painting murals with children. Thomas worked as a studio mentor at YAYA 2000-2004.
Thomas participated in the YAYA young artists’ guild 1995-2000.