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The Comeback Kids: Vinnie Thomas

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 5:52 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It’s not every day you hear of a Rockfordian receiving an Emmy award. But now, our next Comeback Kid joins that very small and rare group of people. Vinnie Thomas, a 3-D motion graphic designer moved back home to Rockford from Los Angeles when COVID-19 hit and he’s been working here ever since.

Vinnie owns his own company Rareform and says, “Essentially, I make things move on screen.” That’s his job in a nutshell but he’s trained for it his whole life.

He says, “When I was a kid, I was really into creative things like music, that’s what I ended up going to school for. While I was in school, I got into design just as a hobby. From there, I became addicted to staying up late learning new things.”

Many of his skills are self-taught and helped Vinnie launch his career in Los Angeles. Now, he worked on projects that feed his passions. “I always have loved sports and to be able to work in graphic design with sports was huge. We produced a docuseries interviewing like Tom Brady, Lebron James and the likes. It was cool to tell their stories and use my art form in a way to enhance and bring that to life, it was great,” Vinnie says.

Vinnie won the Emmy award for Outstanding Design in the docuseries Greatness Code on Apple TV+. The series highlights defining moments in an athlete’s career, those things that turn a good player into a great one. “Winning an Emmy is never like an actual goal. You’re never on a project to just win an Emmy. To just know that everything you worked so hard on, especially with this project, lots of late nights a lot of sacrifice for it. For it to be recognized is just huge,” Vinnie says.

But COVID-19 altered Vinnie’s life and took his career down a new path. This new path is one that led him to come home. Vinnie says, “Having a bunch of family at home here in Rockford seemed like the right time to maybe just take a step back. Coming home has been great! Honestly, with COVID, it’s been really unique because my whole remote work situation has totally been seamless.”

Unique may be an understatement. Living in Rockford gives him the flexibility to work with studios across the country and now with businesses in his backyard. He says, “Getting out of the house, you’re flying solo. To jump into a community where there are a lot of people working on lots of different things and the collaboration is great. Work with some local businesses that want to do something new, that want to try something fun, I’m excited to bring that home.”

Working and owning his own company, he works both at home in Rockford along with an old shipping container at Geronimo Hospitality Group’s Irontek in Beloit. There, many different entrepreneurs also house their businesses.

Vinnie and his wife, Joy also say the real estate market is another big reason why they moved back home. When they came back in 2020, that’s when the couple purchased their first home.

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