Thomas was born in Fresno California in 1949 where he spent time in the Sierra Mountains with his family half of which where cowboys and loggers. When his parents moved to Santa Cruz California in 1961 he discovered surfing and as he says “spent his teenage years floating on a surfboard in the Pacific Ocean” as well as sailing. The ocean became an important influence in his life as an artist. “The freedom on a wave is very similar to making decisions on a canvas and you alone are responsible for both”. Thomas has a BFA & MFA from California Institute of the Arts.