A melting pot of artists: spotlight on the New Braunfels ThunderCloud crew
Artists come in many different guises, and we have more than our share of them at ThunderCloud Subs. All of our employees are sandwich artists, but we also employ a slew of other types of artists—musicians, writers, designers, painters, illustrators, photographers, filmmakers… you name it.
The team at the ThunderCloud store in New Braunfels is one of our most artistic and multi-talented ThunderCrews. Four gifted artists are part of the crew there: Johnny Duncan, Jay Rickard, Heather Jones, and Ria Kolsar.
The outspoken ringleader of the bunch, Johnny Duncan (known professionally as Jenkins 2d), is taking the art world by storm with his vivid, colorful, cartoon-like creations. Inspired by street art, video games, and comic books, his work often features goofy sherbet-colored creatures known as kaiju.
His art can be found on murals throughout New Braunfels and Austin, on album covers, buses, clothes, shoes, stickers, and skateboards; and in galleries, books, and magazines. A ThunderCloud employee for nearly four years, he will soon be painting a mural on a wall inside the New Braunfels ThunderCloud store and hopefully and few others.
Johnny has curated several art shows that his fellow artists at the New Braunfels store have participated in, including Punx ‘n Potions and Big Yellow House. Most recently, Johnny was invited to go to London for a week to showcase his work in the Illustrated 2015 exhibition.
Jay Rickard’s art style has a bit of a darker, realistic feel and blurs the line between dream and nightmare. Colorful skeletons—think Día de los Muertos—are a common theme in many of his pieces. Jay has been working at ThunderCloud for a year and is studying media arts and animation at the Art Institute of Austin.
Jay and Johnny teamed up to create Outlandish Apparel—a lifestyle brand aimed at creative types, featuring prints of original art work on everything from shirts and hats, to stickers and toys. Outlandish Apparel can be found in boutiques around Central Texas including Leosquare in San Marcos and Nine Tails in San Antonio.
Heather Jones can be recognized by her vibrant tattoo sleeves, and the artist under the ink is just as creative. She does mixed-medium pieces, collages, sketches, abstracts, and DIY projects of all kinds. She first started taking art lessons when she was only 9 years old, and later went to the Houston and Austin Art Institutes for graphic design.
Heather has been at ThunderCloud for three years, and one of her large mixed-medium pieces hangs above the kitchen area in the New Braunfels store. You’ll find objects of all kinds in it: buttons, leaves, string, broken glass, electric outlet covers, fabric, newspaper and magazine clippings, and even a lighter! Her work of art is so elaborately layered that the crew says they see something new on it almost every day.
Heather’s pencil portraits have been a huge hit with the ThunderCloud family. She draws famous people like Willie Nelson and Clint Eastwood, as well as real-life people and animals. Dylan, the manager of the ThunderCloud in San Antonio, had Heather draw a portrait of his parents for him to give them as a gift for their 25th anniversary.
At only 17 years old, Ria Kolsar is the youngest employee at the ThunderCloud store in New Braunfels but you’d never be able to guess it based on her stunning artwork. Ria paints acrylics on canvases and various other mediums such as shoes and T-shirts. Painting isn’t her only gift, however; Ria has also played guitar since she was 5 and was an award-winning mariachi singer from ages 12-16.
These four artists are very different but all have one thing in common: their love for ThunderCloud because of the creative freedom it allows them, the family atmosphere, the good times, and the support and encouragement from regular customers.