Three reasons to be excited about Stefan Thompson:
1. His work is haunting, quirky, imaginative, surreal, and entirely unique. If you visit his website, you’ll be greeted by a row of delightful eye-less birds, who will direct you to more images of his work, old and new. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be simultaneously charmed and unsettled by the pieces. Or, you can visit his gallery page on Deviant Art, where viewer comments range from “lovely” and “soft” to “earthy,” “awesome,” “dark” and “unusual.”
2. With a background in environmental science and an obvious appreciation for the natural world, Stefan uses non-toxic earth paints, soot, and recycled materials to produce his illustrations.
3. In addition to his illustrations on paper, he does live digital painting. You can watch his images transform on the screen–animals appear, then disappear; they are smudged out by colour, or subsumed into another image. His live digital painting demonstrates the layering that goes into his work, and the vast collection of characters, and their stories, that make up a piece. Often, you’ll grow attached to an animal, to a particular detail in its face, only to have it disappear. Although in the end only some of the animals are visible, having watched the live painting, you know the others are there, in the eyes or mouths of the creatures that remain, or lurking in the shadows around the edges, or maybe just in your memory. The image below is a still of a live painting, but you can watch the whole video here. My personal favourite you can find here.
1. Everyday is part of Wakefest, Wakefield’s annual all-arts festival celebrating local artists. Stefan embodies the multidisciplinary, collaborative spirit of the festival. On Thursday, August 23rd, at 7:30pm, as part of the festival launch, he will be projecting his live paintings onto a large screen in front of Café Earle Pub to the live electro compositions of RAAS. On Friday, August 24th, you can find him at Galerie McKenzie Marcotte for the vernissage of Everyday. The vernissage is from 5-7pm. You can then follow the crowd down the road to the films and live music on the covered bridge.
2. This will be Stefan Thompson’s first exhibition at Galerie McKenzie Marcotte. Maureen and David asked him in 2011, but he was heading out to Cortes Island. This year, they decided to reduce the number of shows in the gallery to focus more on their pottery; however, when Stefan migrated back to the Wakefield area, they could not resist showing his new work.
3. The content of the show will be a surprise. Maureen and David left it entirely up to Stefan to choose the pieces he would like to include. They haven’t even seen them yet. This adds to the mystery surrounding his work, and to the excitement of finally having him in the gallery.
4. There are stories running through these pieces. Every face seems to have a personality, an obsession, a dream, a regret, a sense of humour, a fear. To be in a room full of people interpreting these pieces, having different reactions to the faces peering out at us, reading differently the pearl teeth of one, the draped paws of another, the intent in the black eyes of another, is probably the most exciting reason of all.