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Top Image: Thomas Bils, #43, 2020. Oil on Miami Shores Auto Repair Inc. bill. 11 in x 8 1/2 in x 21.59. Courtesy of Matthew Chevallard
Side Image: Thomas Bils, #17, 2019. Oil on Miami Dade parking citation. Courtesy of Jeffrey Noble
This exhibition is the first solo museum exhibition for Miami-based artist Thomas Bils. It features works from his ongoing series, Still Cheaper Than Paying. In this series, artifacts of the artist’s financial obligations, such as parking citations and insurance bills, transcend their monetary status by being transformed into drawings that are sold for the exact price of the original bill through social media or by commission. The crowdsourcing of his drawings on bills is an essential element of this project as it brings the artist closer to his goal of living at net-zero. The title Still Cheaper Than Paying refers to the original catalyst for the project — Bils’ sentiments about receiving parking tickets — that it was cheaper to pay the fines than it was to pay the meter.
The exhibition, which also includes paintings Bils based on some of these drawings, will be installed in NSU Art Museum’s William J. Glackens Wing, where it will be shown in tandem with the exhibition From Pencil to Paint, which highlights the influence of Glackens’ illustrations and drawings on his paintings. For Glackens, his illustrations for magazines and books was a financial transaction, which supported his life as a painter.
Thomas Bils: Still Cheaper Than Paying is curated by Bonnie Clearwater, Director and Chief Curator and Ariella Wolens, Bryant-Taylor Curator, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.
Thomas Bils was born in 1993 in Melbourne, Florida. He moved to Miami to study painting at New World School of The Arts, receiving a BFA in 2017. He lives and works in Miami as an artist in residence at Bakehouse Art Complex. He was a 2019 Oolite Arts Home and Away resident artist at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, CO.
Exhibitions and programs at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale are made possible in part by a challenge grant from the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation. Funding is also provided by the City of Fort Lauderdale, AutoNation, Community Foundation of Broward, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is accredited by the American Association of Museums.