Oppala/Slöinge from the IKEA series (2001)

Oppala (detail), © 2001 J. Thomson All rights reserved

This is a two-sided encaustic and collage painting from my IKEA series. It rests on a custom crown-moulding shelf I built for it, so that you can turn it over to display the other side at will. Shown here with a few of the digital sketches I made in preparation for the painting. Available in the gift shop here.

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Förby from the IKEA series (2002)

Forby, © 2002 by J. Thomson All rights reserved

Förby was a cheap little plastic stool that sold for probably around $5 at IKEA. I never had one, but I knew plenty of people that did! I liked the Sputnik-like quality of this drawing, but I never made a painting based on it. This print is available in the gift shop.

Kontra (Espresso Express), from the IKEA series (2002)

Espresso Express, © 2002 J. Thomson All rights reserved

Espresso Express is a small encaustic and collage painting I made to benefit a local charity auction. It was the only painting in the auction that sold for more than double its value. It is based on the sketch Kontra, which was IKEA’s knockoff of the famous Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. (Note the Classic OS scroll bar— that was before MacOS X!) Available in the gift shop.

Kontra (from the IKEA series), © 2002 by J. Thomson All rights reserved

Bjorkas, from the IKEA series (2001/2002)

Bjorkas 3 (original illustration from IKEA's assembly instructions) .

Björkås is no longer offered by IKEA, but it was a small table you could mount to the wall and it would fold away when it wasn’t in use. It never made it into a painting, but the sketches are still pretty cool. BTW, I never bought a Björkås table… people would save their instruction sheets and give them to me hoping it would be turned into a painting. Available in the gift shop

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Slice (1999)

Slice, © 1999 J. Thomson All rights reserved

Having just returned to the United States after a year’s absence, and then re-uniting with my partner and relocating to Philadelphia, I was in a mood to settle down. I started exploring issues of domestic life, and this is the first indication of something I would explore for years. This drawing of a slice of bread represents home and comfort, as well as the banality of everyday life.

I went on to make cast glass sculptures of bread slices from molds I carefully made, (unfortunately, I only have slides of these, and no way to scan them). But this process was too time consuming for my busy schedule. Not only did I have to spend hours and hours making the original sculpture out of clay or wax and creating the mold from that, but I also had to anneal the glass slowly in a kiln over a period of days or weeks. Finally, I would have to spend hours cold working the glass to grind and polish away any imperfections.

So I invented a new more immediate technique. I made a mold of an oversized slice of bread out of a thick piece of wood, which I kept soaking in water. Then I could pour hot molten glass into it, and have them out of the annealing oven in two days. I made hundreds of slices of bread this way, and showed them in various configurations in the gallery for exhibits and critiques. I even sold a few at a gallery in Chelsea in New York City. I still have many of these slices packed away, and they can be purchased relatively cheaply too. Just drop me a line if you’re interested.

I also explored using bread in other ways, including as a sculptural medium itself.

 

Saint Lucy (1999)

St. Lucy, © 1999 J. Thomson All rights reserved.

Another drawing of Saint Lucy, this time a flying mermaid also makes an appearance. I’m not sure why now. Available in the gift shop here.

Saint Lucy (1999)

Saint Lucy, © 1999 J. Thomson All rights reserved.

Saint Lucy, from my 1999 Sketchbook. Available in the gift shop here.

Saint Lucy is a Christian saint (whose name comes from the Latin Lux, for light; she is the patron saint of blind people) who spurned her suitors and consecrated her virginity to God. In one version of the story, her would-be husband tortured her and took her eyes out with a fork; in another version her suitor admired her eyes, so she pulled them out and told him to leave her to God. She is usually depicted holding a pair of eyes on a platter.

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.

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.