Posted by: Nick Redfern on July 17th, 2012
Well, The Examiner is hot on the trail of cryptids right now. Here’s another new post from them: a Q&A with Thomas Finley about his crypto-themed artwork.
Photo credit: Thomas Finley
A lot of ground is covered in this interesting interview (conducted by Jeffery Pritchett), including how Finley approaches his subject-matter, his views on Bigfoot, and his thoughts on Mothman, about which he says: “The Mothman is a strange creature to be sure. I have always thought that this creature is a herald of things to come and if you see this thing it is a warning for impending trouble. Like an warning angel of sorts but in another form completely.”
Below is an excerpt of that interview.
When I first came across Thomas Finley’s artwork it automatically beamed in my head that I had to interview him. Then the images of the slideshow appeared and I knew I had to showcase his art for an interview here. So I contacted him and found out he had just listened to one of my shows on Mothman with Andy Colvin, Mothman photographer at The Church of Mabus radio show. How weird and cool is that? He was painting mothman to my show. So it was meant to be obviously and universally inspired. Alot of his art focuses on the mystical Sasquatch but he also does other art like aliens and other paranormal personalities. I have deemed him the para-painter with the highest esteem. I hope you enjoy his art and down to earth personality like I have. I am from Georgia and so is he but he managed to make his way to England. A Georgian in England painting paranormal personalities! Unique indeed. Presenting..
1. Could you tell us about how you initially got interested in Bigfoot and the paranormal type creatures that lead to your creations of painting them?
View slideshow: Sasquatch Paintings from Para-painter Thomas Finley
Thomas Finley: Great question. I first became interested in Bigfoot way back in 1968, I was 8 years old at the time and my family attended the Olmsted County Fair in Rochester, Minnesota, and there on the midway my older brother and I came across this weird sideshow which had this strange man-beast frozen in a block of ice in a special trailer. This exhibit is infamously known as the “Minnesota Iceman”. And it completely changed my take on world and that things could be alive alongside us. I still think to this day that that creature in the ice was the real deal. It still gives me goose bumps just to think of it.
Growing up in a family of artists I just done what came natural to me and I loved drawing creatures back in school as my teachers said I wasted to much time drawing. I kept learning my skill and in the 1980s and 90s I painted wildlife and specialised portraits and would enter any local art contest going to see if I would win. In 1999, I decided to get back into the paranormal world and start painting things that I enjoy so I started with the Bigfoot images and later the UFOs and other cryptids. It is what I enjoy basically and what others think of it is not important. I get so many “expert” opinions on my art telling me the inaccuracies, like they have seen a Bigfoot or a lake monster up close. I don’t let it bother me anymore. Bigfoot is my main cryptid of choice and someday I hope to have a encounter with one.
2. With many of your drawings or paintings you seem to base what they look like on actual cases. Could you share a few cases with us that inspired some of your art?
Thomas Finley: There are a few that are from eyewitness accounts my favourite is a sketch I done while talking to a witness in Colorado in 2007. It is of a Bigfoot this gentleman had seen while working as a Ranger in the State. He had his sighting in 1969 and didn’t like talking about it. He also shared with me some photos of tracks he claimed that a tribe of Bigfoot pass through his park each season on their way to New Mexico to basically get out of the bad winter weather. I almost threw this sketch away by accident recently and was very happy to have found it laying in a folder that said MISC. THROW AWAY. I have one interesting UFO painting I created from an eyewitness description which happened here in the United Kingdom a while back the witness a mobile party D.J. had a sighting of a group of UFOs passing over this football club playing ground, the UFOs were in the shape of a giant “ W “. What I key on most of all when painting an eyewitness account is the way the person speaks as I listen to the emotion in their speech patterns with the Bigfoot account this gentleman was very emotional and it really rang true to me that his experience was authentic. Same with the UFO sighting, this guy was just packing up his van to go home and then this encounter takes place. Amazing!
3. What other beings from the paranormal world have you drawn artistically?
Thomas Finley: I have painted and drawn many fantastic creatures over the years Jeffery, Lake Monsters are a favourite, Bigfoot, aliens, movie monsters, The Yeti. The list is endless and timeless. Creatures are always coming off my art table. You name it I will make it and if the “experts” say it isn’t accurate I just will make it more beyond belief. But, keeping a very scientific approach and making it look like an actual living creature. The best compliment or complaint you could call it was from a guy that said to me in an email, “hey dude, your Bigfoot look to REAL like something from National Geographic.” He was not happy I guess with my detail.
4. I noticed you did a picture of Shaman Sasquatch. Do you think Bigfoot is a paranormal type being with multidimensional properties? What are your thoughts on this?
Thomas Finley: My painting “Bigfoot Shaman” was inspired by a email I saw on the a Bigfoot forum last year in it she was reflecting on a wild dream she had of being in a dark forest and coming through to a clearing to see a fire going with a troop of Bigfoot all wearing feathers and beating drums and dancing around the fire hooping it up! I though this is either the strangest dream ever or that there might be more underlying clues to what these beings may actually be like. In my travels I have come across accounts of Bigfoot tracks that just stop and disappear in the snow, where did the Bigfoot go? I like to keep the multi-verse theory a possibility as some of the Bigfoot cases are so strange. Also I think we may be dealing with more then one type of hominid one being home grown and the others being from “another place”. Don’t bet the house on that though.
5. Your art is beautiful and I am curious if you personally have had any paranormal experiences or spiritual experiences you would like to share or did hearing someone else’s inspire you to do this type of art form?
Thomas Finley: I have had a hand full of paranormal related things happen over my life, but none that I could say inspired my artwork, there was a couple of haunting type events that really were eye-opening growing up. When I was a youngster my parents would send me to my grandmothers in Illinois for summer vacation off from school. It was an every other year type thing. Her house was this huge old Victorian place and had many rooms. I was told on my arrival by my little cousins that the place was haunted! Every night we would lay in bed and you could hear footsteps coming up the stairs and walking on the creaky floors. I later found out it was the ghost of Aunt Shirley who had lived their with my Grandmother for many years. Another summer stay I saw a figure of a woman standing in the kitchen and she just disappeared. That was freaky. Spooky for a kid, but fun. It could me more deeply interested in the paranormal. That’s a plus. Thank you aunt Shirley.
Read the entire interview here: Interview with Thomas Finley, para-painter of Sasquatch and beyond.
Punk music fan, Tennents Super and Carlsberg Special Brew beer fan, horror film fan, chocolate fan, like to wear black clothes, like to stay up late. Work as a writer.