Thomas A. Ekkens

The letters “TAE” in TAE Gallery are my initials—Thomas A. Ekkens—but they resonate in many languages with different associations:

•  In the Philippines, it is a reference to an older sister or considered slang for fiancé.

•  The Scots use the form for the word “to” while the Irish speak of it as “tea.”

•  In Korea, it can mean poopoo (fecal matter, or less polite terms).

•  In some parts of the world, it can mean a self-absorbent ogre who strikes fear in people.

•  To others, “tae” is the description of the moment the sun rises above the horizon.

Colorful stuff, to be sure, but to me it simply means—well, me!


As an artist, I work in watercolor, acrylic, pen & ink, color pencil, pastel, and combinations of each.

As a calligrapher, I am able to use these materials to help illustrate the words on a page.

As a photographer, I am compelled by the artistic images that enter the lens and then play out on the computer. I feel that my photographs are now on a par with other fine-art techniques.

My work displayed on the TAE Gallery e-walls spans a lifetime of artistic pursuit. I, like all artists, need to express ideas in visual ways using multiple tools. Enjoy the visit!


I began my photography at age 10 with a birthday gift of a Brownie box camera. Everything became a subject of focus—flowers, bugs, birds, rocks, unusual shapes, natural and manmade patterns, people (particularly candid shots), and landscapes. Whatever a box camera could do became the challenge.

Since those early days, I have published in magazines and brochures and on album covers, and exhibit regularly at local and regional venues. With the advent of high-definition, single lens reflex (SLR) digital photography, and computer programs,


Throughout 2001 and 2002, I enrolled at the Seattle Filmworks Photography School to reinforce my intuitive skills. This included instruction in film-based photography, which I had been doing for many years.

With the popularity of 35mm digital, at high resolutions, I changed from film to digital in 2003. Previously, I used a number of filters for film camera lenses to achieve a variety of artistic photo renderings. Now, with the advent of computer digital processing programs, I use filters in a completely new way.


I have been writing poetry throughout my life. I had poems read to me as a child and I loved the rhyme, the imagery. I grew up in a musical family, where singing was natural and fun.

I began writing poems and songs early on, eventually earning a Billboard award for a special song, “Bubblegum Bees,” written for one of my nieces.

My first book, Collected Poetry of Thomas A. Ekkens—Early Works, was published in 1986 by Backspace Ink, and has been followed by numerous poetry chapbooks.

I authored a new poetry form, Ekkensian verse (coined by Pacifica Poet Laureate Rod Clark), and am proud to share these poems as well as those written by other poets.


I'm a Star Trek fan but, in all of its TV and movie episodes, I don't recall ever seeing a book. We are entering the no-book age, sadly, yet books remain an important part of many individual and family lives today. I enjoy making uniquely designed books. I also love restoring the old, tattered volumes. Check out my Book Arts pages. Maybe I can create—or save—a book for you!