Messiah (1999)

Messiah, © 1999 J. Thomson all rights reserved

Messiah, from my 1999 sketchbook. Available in the giftshop here.

Madonna (1999)

Madonna © 1999 J. Thomson all rights reserved

Madonna, From my 1999 sketchbook. Available in the giftshop here.

1999 Sketchbook

© 1999 J. Thomson

During my year as artist in residence in Scotland, I was talked into applying for graduate school at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Because of the timing of my stay in Scotland, I would have to wait another year back in the states before applying to schools, and I wasn’t sure what I would do for that year.

To make a long story short, I was accepted into the MFA program in glass at Tyler, but that meant I had to leave Scotland a month early so I could go home, pack and move to Philadelphia, a city I’d never been to before.

To say my first few months back were a bit of culture shock for me is an understatement. I was reeling. I didn’t know what I wanted to make art about, and I was still trying to get grounded in a routine at my new school. The work load was horrific (15 credits a semester, plus studio work–my glassblowing time slot was 2am – 4am–as well as student teaching/work study). I barely had time to think. And because working in glass is so time consuming, there was hardly time to finish any work for critiques.

It was obvious I was floundering, and one of my professors insisted that I keep a sketchbook, even though I’d stopped doing that years earlier, and didn’t really have time to do it anyway. These are the covers of the sketchbook, and the next few posts will have some drawings from it.

© 1999 J. Thomson

Beech Hedge (1997)

Beech hedge © 1997 J. Thomson all rights reserved

After earning my BFA from SIUC, I spent nearly a year living in Scotland at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath, as artist in residence. This is a little pen and ink drawing I did on a postcard. The subject is a row of gnarly beech trees, facing the North Sea. It was one of my favorite places on the estate to hide out on a brooding Novermber-ish day and watch the sea and clouds where nobody could find me. These trees were cut back to stumps in the spring of ’98, much to my dismay.

Word hand (1995)

Word hand, 1995 © J. Thomson all rights reserved This was more of a graphic design piece than a drawing per se, but it’s in my sketchbook, so in it goes! The challenge here was to make the story end at the same time I ran out of room in the drawing. Pretty successful, considering I was making it up as I wrote it.

Here’s a transcription of the text:

“This is the finger of the hand that is controlled by the muscle that receives its impulse from the nerve that is connected to another nerve in the arm and another and another in the shoulder that is connected to the nerve in the spinal column that makes up the central core of the nervous system, and is connected to the brain that receives the impulses from the nerves detecting the senses and sending the impulses to the brain which receives them and processes them and perceives them as light and dark or hard and soft or hot and cold or loud or silent or bitter or sweet or mild or stank and dictates an appropriate response: jerk away from the burn, or dilate the eye or squint or tap the hard surface or pet the softness or bask in the warmth or feel the chill or deafen the ear or strain to hear the silence or taste the salty cum or the hard sweetness or smile at the memory provoked by the smell of rose or cringe at the funk, the cells of the folds that make the lobes of the halves of the brain that possesses its owner and makes him feel horny or sad or her feel wet and pouty and engorges the muscles of the penis to make it erect so it may stiffen and implant the seed of its neighbor, the testicle, into the womb or ass or mouth or belly in spurts of utter excitement and enjoyment or engorge the muscular wall of vagina, ass, belly, or hand to tighten the grip on the other’s virile member to receive its load of milky white creamy frothy salty cum into the womb, mouth, belly, ass, hand, back, face, bathtub, bed, Kleenex, bathroom stall, underpants, jeans, car back-seat, projection booth, couch, floor, sink, hair, or pillow or wall which it may explode and land on, or if in the body of another, dissolve, conceive, melt and run, or swallow and be ingested only to be digested and processed into heat and energy and movement and the waste shat out of the body into the water in the toilet into the pipes of the sewer system into lakes and rivers of the Earth or conceive with the female egg and divide through meiosis and mitosis into another living being, or be caught and frozen in a jar until needed for fertilization of another’s egg possibly years later and continents apart that may conceive, divide, fee, grow, be born, learn, grow for years, learn to write and pick up a pen and begin to move its hand…”

What is youse lookin’ at (1995)

What is Youse Lookin' At, 1995 © J. Thomson all rights reserved This caricature was inspired by a rather tough-looking (but a sweetheart really) friend from Scotland. For the drawing, I gave him a different accent.

Visitation by a Devil (1995)

Visitation by a Devil, 1995 by J. Thomson © all rights reserved. Another colored drawing inspired by a dream, circa 1995.

Self portrait in color (1995)

Self portrait in color, 1995 by J. Thomson © all rights reserved. Here is one of the few drawings from my 1995 sketchbook that I colored with pencils. I was experimenting with building up many layers of different colors in the background, which is a technique I still use today in drawings and paintings. And yes, I do feel at times so conflicted that I wonder about having a split personality. In this drawing, it looks more like a parasitic twin. Available in the gift shop here.

Self portrait (1995)

Self portrait 1995, by J. Thomson © all rights reserved. I did a lot of cartoonish drawings of myself in 1995. This one is a little bit more “realistic” and is the only one that depicts some of my tattoos (the little squiggle on my hip below the belly button is a praying mantis tattoo). Available in the gift shop here.

Self portrait (1995)

Self portrait circa 1995 by J. Thomson. © all rights reserved. Another self-portrait drawing from my 1995 sketchbook. Wish I was that thin now. Available in the gift shop here.