Franklin Regional middle-schooler’s photos on display at Westmoreland art museum |
Art & Museums

Franklin Regional middle-schooler’s photos on display at Westmoreland art museum

Patrick Varine
Courtesy of Tai Thomasson
Graffiti stands out on Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Bridge in this photo by Tai Thomasson, 14, of Murrysville.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Tai Thomasson, 14, of Murrysville, has a solo art gallery on display through June 13 at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg.
Courtesy of Tai Thomasson
A rainy streetscape in downtown Pittsburgh, as shot by Tai Thomasson, 14, of Murrysville.
Courtesy of Tai Thomasson
Graffiti stands out on Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Bridge in this photo by Tai Thomasson, 14, of Murrysville.

When Tai Thomasson of Murrysville picked up his mother’s film camera a few years ago, he wasn’t expecting his photos to be published in “Murrysville Living” magazine.

The 14-year-old certainly wasn’t expecting about a dozen of them to become part of a month-long exhibit on display at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art’s student gallery hallway in Greensburg.

“I’ve never had this many pieces showing for this long,” said Thomasson, an eighth-grader at Franklin Regional Middle School. “I hope people will be able to appreciate the work.”

Thomasson’s exhibit is made up largely of Pittsburgh streetscapes: a hazy orange glow cast on Penguins fans headed toward PPG Paints Arena, or the brilliant contrast of the yellow beams in the Clemente Bridge against the deep blue of an evening sky.

The artistry extends beyond the edges of the photographs as well, in some cases.

“I painted the frames to reflect what was happening in the photos,” Thomasson said. “In a shot of the Primanti Bros. sign, there are little red dotted lights all over the place, and so I painted the frame black and added several red dots.”

Thomasson said he is a huge fan of “street photography.”

“It’s a lot of quick moments that will never happen again,” he said. “I can shoot a road, and there will never be that same arrangement of cars on it ever again.”

Thomasson said he also loves shooting photos in the rain.

“A regular paved street really changes in the rain,” he said. “It becomes shiny, and it reflects other colors. It’s almost a whole new way of seeing colors.”

Below, Thomasson describes his process and what, for him, constitutes a good photograph.

Thomasson’s canvas has changed over the years. Older photos, with the painted frames, are printed in the traditional manner but many of his newer works have been printed on glass.

“I edit them using Lightroom and then I print them through a service called Image to Glass,” he said. “It draws out color very easily.”

Thomasson’s art teacher, Bruce Palmiscno, is a member at the museum and approached education director Joan McGarry about hosting the exhibit.

Palmiscno said he first saw Thomasson’s work at the 2018 Festival of the Arts at Franklin Regional Senior High School.

“He has a keen eye with composition and I really like his use of color,” Palmiscno said. “I wanted to give him the opportunity to share his work.”

Thomasson’s gallery will be on display through June 16.

For more on Thomasson’s photos, find him on Instagram at @PTTphotography_.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: AandE | Museums | Local | Murrysville
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