Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dan Thompson

Today, i sat for the second time for teacher Dan Thompson. This head study that I'm posting happened in about ten hours total of work.
I serendipitously stumbled on the existence of this incredible artist and teacher in my first semester at the New York Academy of Art. My first day of class, and all classes with him after that, were incredibly mentally exhausting and demanding in the way that really good things are exhausting and demanding. Dan has completely ruined me for all future teachers, because everyone of them just gets compared to him.
Anyway, this entry is really more about him as an artist and his work.  I don't know if you can tell, but i'm a pretty big fan of this dude and i have no problem gushing over him.
In his studio, i had the opportunity to see his absolutely most recent work, which just happens to be breathtaking.
There is a quality of arbitrarity in the brushstrokes, in the sense that they don't seem to follow something. For example, in the case of Van Gogh's brushstrokes, they follow some kind of current, they're water in a flowing river.
Dan's finished paintings fidget and move, like a five year old that refuses to sit still and, perhaps, it is that path that the brushstrokes follow. The inherent movement that is constant in a living body, the movement of homeostasis, of blood moving through veins, arteries and capillaries, of air being inhaled and exhaled, of cells making energy and consuming fuel. Movement of molecules.
It's movement that is not obvious to human eyes, movement that we take for granted or annoys us when a picture we take comes out blurry, because of our shaking hands.
I think a facile way of describing his work would be "impressionistic" and, although valid, i also think it is so much deeper than that. The study of light and color is there, no doubt, as it was with the impressionists, but there is something about the lines of the beginning sketch, like in the study that I am posting in this entry, the swirly strokes that escape from the hair. It reminds me of fugitive atoms.
I love how everything is there and it is not, how far from "tight" and "rendered" it is. And i also love how when you get close, the strokes don't crumble and fall away from each other, but, rather, the paint tickens and seems to reach out to you.
So, i feel pretty goddamn cool and ridiculously honored that i posed for this BAMF.
You can see his work in his website and he also has a facebook page (Dan Thompson) and he is also going to do a workshop from april 18th to april 20th at Chelsea's Studio and Gallery. Write to or call 516-297-6527.