Tree Collage (1999)

Tree collage, © 1999 J. Thomson All rights reserved

Another collage of trees with several of the Wings of Desire chrysallis sculptures attached to them. My professor hated the idea so I never made them, but he loved this collage. Available in the gift shop here.

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.

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

When a Child is Not a Child (1998)

 

When a child is not a child, collage © 1998 J. Thomson all rights reserved Here is a collage/poem piece I made in January of 1998. The pod-like structures attached to the trees relate to a mixed-media sculpture I made in 1997 out of cast glass, seed pods and other elements. It was inspired by the film Wings of Desire (1987, directed by Wim Wenders), and was meant to evoke a strange chrysallis, from which a winged spirit will emerge. Although I have no photographs, I still have this sculpture and will try to get it photographed someday.

I have often said that everyone should write poetry, but few people should read it. However, since the poem is part of this collage, here is a transcription of the poem I wrote for this piece:

When A Child Is Not A Child

Sloughing around inside this loose skin

I press my face close to the mask

Rough edges rub my eyes and

scratch my ‘lashes until they are raw.

“M’upher lipf’s salfy wid sweat.”

Dry leaves crunch underfoot—

I stumble and skin my left kneww

Sounds echo inside my over-big head

I feel alone— the other voices seem far away

But teh adult inside

the mask— Not yet

ready to emerge—

comforts me:

“There will be time

for worry later…”

This is Halloween

and my bag is full…

—14 January 1998

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.