Getting to Know James Thompson

Getting to Know James Thompson

Seattle-based artist James Thompson, a graduate of Texas A&M University, is currently exhibiting is collection “Somewhere” at SEAD Gallery. We reached out to James to find out more about him and this modern body of work.

Zoya: How did you get involved with art?

James: Art is something that I believe we are all shaped and created to do in some way, to express, reflect. There was grade-school art class, but what truly made me “involved” was receiving my first camera. Photography became the gateway, a newness of seeing and perceiving. Looking through the lens brought consideration of my own viewpoint; How do I see? What shapes that? Why?


Z: Where do you get your inspiration? What inspires you?

J: Spaces, shadows, sound, fragments, smaller details rather than large. Subtlety, especially in color and contrast. Finding things that are not, reinstating to be made known. All created things point back to their source, learning to see and understand that with new resonance every day.


Z: How would you describe your art?

J: In regards to medium, my work varies (i.e. photography, mixed media, installation, sound). A range of minimal to extended detail. Seeking out spaces, materials and moments that are generally disregarded, unnoticed, or unwanted. Also, examining the formation of our own (individual and collective) perception; why and how do we engage inwardly and outwardly, and what systemizes and shapes that process. The concept is the core of my work. Each final product can translate differently to each viewer, which is something I celebrate, but also hope to begin conversations that reverb. I don’t desire to build or prove anything for myself, but hope to stir and encourage others to seek, contemplate and see in a new way.


Z: I noticed that your previous work was in black and white, but your recent work seems to be in color. What caused/inspired this change?

J: The majority of my work is composed in grayscale. It is a format that has naturally become a fluent component to my process, specifically challenging me compositionally and conceptually. Each color is a language, and I feel like there are so many tones I am just now starting to really hear. Although, subtly, which you will see in my recent work. Many hues are present, but not in an obvious manner. Colors that are overlooked and muted are particularly loud to me.


Z: What is the most challenging aspect of your type of art? Why?

 J: From an immediate surface, often the ambiguity. But it is a challenge to both myself and others to take what is not obvious and dig deeper. Metaphors are so beautiful because they are purely symbolic and representative. Honestly I hope for others to experience, contemplate and hear beyond anything I attempt to bring forward.


Z: Why abstract art?

J: There’s an expressive nature and quality to abstraction that cannot be forced or taught. It’s primal. Personally, art that is forced, if at all, is decreasingly sincere. Then often arrives the conversation of “well is it art or not?” I love that conversation. Questions are important. I hope to keep asking and be asked questions.


I hope you enjoyed the interview! We look forward to seeing you at James’ opening reception!