Drawing is the basis to all Jonathan Thompson’s work. The drawings originate from a particular place, experience or narrative, which evoke a visionary approach to contemporary life.
Whilst looking for a theme to combine his drawing skills and desire for story telling he started to read John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress which subsequently informed his work from 1997-2003. The narrative helped as a starting point to depict a central character searching for a utopian world. It is this searching between the interface of what is certain and uncertain that is central to his figurative compositions.
The images are often ambiguous and show the main character looking out to a sublime world in hope of the ‘Celestial City’. However this spiritual realm appears in a dream and pervades the whole landscape. Is the character dreaming? Does his final destiny actually lie within his own mind?
In 2000 Scolar Fine Art in London asked Jonathan to contribute to a show by contemporary artists including Tom Phillips, Stephen Chambers and Eduardo Paolozzi. The purpose was to create images in tribute to William Blake and this coincided with Tate Britain’s major retrospective of Blake’s work. This inspired the image ‘The Good & Evil Angels’ and a series on ‘The Whirlwind of Lovers’.
In contrast to this Jonathan completed a series of Etchings entitled ‘Time Ghosts’ – Portsmouth Harbour to London Waterloo, providing a more graphic account of his daily commute intertwined with poems that captured the ‘Zeitgeist’ of the day.
Since graduating from Camberwell School of Art & Crafts in 1985 Jonathan has been involved with facilitating and providing access for people with a disability or learning difficulty in Art & Design education. In 2001 using ‘Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Community funds’ he established a fully professional Printmaking Studio for Portsmouth City Council now a self-managed open access studio known as ‘Omega Printmakers’.
Jonathan is currently working on a series of sugar lift aquatint etchings depicting ‘The Solent Way’ a 60 mile route between Emsworth on the Hampshire/Sussex border to Lymington the town in which he spent most of his childhood on the western side of the county. The project will possibly be complete at the end of 2014 and updates of the work can be viewed on this site.
“My current practice of using a topographical theme as a motif to continue my exploration of a personal journey has been a great discipline. I’m learning more and more about the medium I’m using and being less conscious about the narrative I wish to allude to. It also fits in quite nicely to the process of songwriting, recording and performing.” JT 2013