Thom Wright has combined his passions for art and engineering, and his two practices benefited from each other. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he joined the U. S. Navy after high school and then returned home to go to college. After graduating in 1970 with a BA and MA in mathematics from UCLA and CSULA, he began a successful, 32 year career in aerospace. While working in advanced space systems and technologies development, he began taking art and art history courses at night at local community colleges. He began selling art and successfully entering competitive art shows in 1978.
His interest initially centered in abstract landscape and figurative painting, influenced both by 20th century European modernists and American expressionists. Beginning in 1986, his subject matter moved toward contemporary issues, including technology, geopolitics, and the global environment. His abstract painting style also migrated towards inclusion of industrial materials, found objects and mixed media, which reflect influences of his technical background. These issues and processes continue in his art work.
Desiring to improve his skills, theory and knowledge in art, he took early retirement from the Boeing Corp. in 1999 and entered art school full time. In May, 2006, he completed the MFA program in Drawing and Painting at California State University, Long Beach.