People of Thomas: Seth Pitt

by Katie Teems, NHT AmeriCorps Member

"I was one of those kids who couldn't draw—or believed I couldn't draw," said Seth Pitt, resident artist, owner and of Creature, and co-owner of The White Room Art Gallery. In the third grade, he didn't draw; rather, he started writing poetry. Seth continued to write poetry in his down time working at a cell phone accessory kiosk.

Then, something seemingly insignificant happened. After years of believing that he couldn't draw, Seth started doodling for self amusement. "Self amusement," he said, "was my approach to making art, and it never really changed." "I started with doodles and then moved to stick men doing particular things with hearts," he said. 

Like with any notable artist, Seth's approach and lack of formal training gave way to the much-loved peculiarities in Seth's artistic style: "I never learned how to draw a face facing you. If you look...they're all facing that way or the other way. Ninety percent are facing away," he said as an example. 

Seth says that he learned how to draw in Thomas after he moved here twelve years ago. Seth Pitt is from a "little tiny, tiny town" from the South Central Michigan cornfields. "I thought I was going to come live here and then move on to another place. That changed really quickly," he said. What Seth loved about Thomas that made him stay was feeling Thomas' strong sense of community.

Seth was here making art along with others in Thomas when they decided to have a community art show in their apartments, hosting strangers who came to look at their art.

After that, the artists, which include Seth, Nathan Baker, Robin Quinlivan, and Sarah Hubbard, decided to rent their storefront and open up The White Room. Seth said they invested less than $150 in the storefront, and they asked friends to show their work there. "It was a horrible business idea at the time—it was just good for us," he said. 

Seth opened up Creature a year ago. He had wanted his own space but was never able to afford it. He then started to ship his art to be sold at galleries around the country in order to afford rent on the storefront. 

"I think all three galleries [on Front Street] are here as mini-museums as much as they are retail spaces," he said. 

"Being an artist in Thomas I believe is building on a tradition of resilience and creativity that I feel has been here since the town existed," he said.  With a community of people living on a mountain for 110 years, he said, of course there has been creative energy here in Thomas. 

Inspired by the hard work and creativity throughout Thomas' history, Seth continues to think about how he can re-invent Creature. 

He now has a greeting card rack, which he'd like to have in other locations around the country, as well as a kid's art area, a button table, and a comfy couch for reading, chatting, and contemplating the universe. 

Check Seth's website to read his bio, browse, and shop his art.