Judith Ann Moriarty

Thomas Schulteis

By - Oct 10th, 2010 04:00 am

Photograph by Thomas Schulteis.

Who’s the dude sitting in a dental chair? The one wearing a turquoise blue drape with a mouth dam revealing a few pearly whites? What an odd photograph. My curiosity is piqued so I contact him and ask if he’d like to do a 5Q.  He would, this 30-year-old who grew up in Germantown in a part that was more or less quite rural.

When we spoke, he told me that he was on his second helping of unemployment and the benefits were about to run out. He had been a part-time machinist, but there’s been no work for a year and a half.

He dropped out of school in the 11th  grade and has no formal art training. His spelling is terrible and he says he lets his art do the talking. I’m intrigued with some of his sketchy portraits. As it turns out, he’s a man of few words. So this was more like a “4Q.”

Are you a recluse?

I don’t think of myself as reclusive. I’m just a normal guy going through his life like everyone else. I haven’t had a vehicle since a car accident I was involved in, in 2003. I’m mainly nocturnal so I can never make it to the bus line.

You’ve shown at various small venues, but this year you exhibited three wood sculptures for the first time during Winter Gallery Night. It’s your sketchbooks I’m interested in. I see you have completed a few portraits in ink. Why portraits and not landscapes?

Landscapes are time and weather sensitive, so you’re at their mercy. If I work on a portrait alone in my studio (after the sitter is gone), it’s comforting, less lonely. A landscape on a rainy day seems depressing. Interiors can be returned to exactly how you left them.


Most of your subjects are men around your age. They seem blank and without hope. Where are the women?

Well, I’m not married, I don’t have a daughter and I don’t live with any women. I’m not dating and don’t have many friends, but the ones I do have are mainly men in the same boat as myself. Just an unlucky bunch I guess.

Thanks for asking , but I can’t sit for a portrait. I’m writing about you so it wouldn’t be ethical. If someone wants to contact you for a portrait, where do they go? Also I asked Deb Brehmer, the owner of the Portrait Society Gallery to take a look at some of your sketches.

Flickr. Tom_Schulteis’ Photostream. Or email me at  thomasaschulteis@yahoo.com

I’d like to buy the photo of you in the dental chair. It’s hilarious and I can relate having gone through 24 appointments to rebuild my choppers.

Categories: 5Q, Art

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