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News Releases

February 16, 2016


SANTA ANA, Calif. - From February 16 through March 16, a selection of oil paintings from Laguna Beach resident Thom Surman are on display at John Wayne Airport (JWA) as part of JWA's Community Focus Space Program. The paintings can be viewed on the Departure (upper) Level near security screening areas in Terminals A, B and C, and on the Arrival (lower) Level adjacent to Baggage Carousels 1 and 4.

"I'm proud to see a local Laguna Beach resident showcase his artwork at John Wayne Airport," said Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett. "The County is fortunate to have a world-class airport with an Arts Program that highlights the many talented artists within our community."

As a lifetime painter and 56-year Orange County resident, Thom Surman depicts his unique perspective on canvas. His paintings record the interactions and constant fluctuation between the earth, sky and water. He is interested in forging a movement of light and color within a single painting, and across a series of paintings.

Vivid and enlightening, Thom Surman's paintings meld the natural world from real to mystical. Surman works exclusively in oil, applying many layers of varying opacity onto canvas. The resulting images convey a luminosity that constantly changes in different lighting conditions. 

"Traditional oil painting has limitations," said Surman. "Converting a flat reflective medium into a refractive light illusion is my ultimate challenge."

"More Myth" by Thom Surman

"More Myth" by Thom Surman

More images can be seen here.

Born in New York, Surman is a lifetime painter who was trained as an advertising designer at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. In 2000, he began to develop a specific direction for his painting by planning an on-going series of works titled 'Puddles and Ponds,' which currently includes over 50 paintings. These works have been showcased at numerous galleries throughout the country and are currently on display at Newbury Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.

Upcoming Community Focus Space Program artists include Phillip Nardulli (March 16 – April 13) and Patricia Turnier (April 13 – May 18). To learn more about JWA's Art Programs, visit


John Wayne Airport (SNA) is owned by the County of Orange and is operated as a self-supporting enterprise that receives no general fund tax revenue. The Airport serves more than 10 million passengers annually and reaches more than 20 nonstop destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. More information can be found at Like us on, or follow us on Twitter @johnwayneair and Instagram @johnwayneair.