It always fascinates me when so-called ‘fine artists’ wander into the commercial scene, such as last year’s Olympic posters by a bevy of Tate-blessed artists with a resulting diabolical set of posters that, had they been under the exacting brief of the commercial arena, would have all been rejected. But regular readers of this blog will know I’ve already had a rant about that.
But what about the other way round, when a ‘commercial’ artist turns fine artist? Well, in the case of Michelle Thompson, it transitions beautifully.
This is Michelle…
Michelle at work – she is rather camera shy.
And this is her material…
Old magazines, books, packaging, comics and catalogues all go into the mix.
And lashings of paint...
Michelle graduated from Norwich School of Art and went on to a postgraduate course at the Royal College of Art under the watchful eye of Robert Mason and Dan Fern: considerable illustrators in their time.
Collage has always been an important creative vehicle for many artists: Picasso, Paolozzi, Rauschenberg, Schwitters and Blake, to name just a few. And in the commercial arena, Cristiana Couceiro has seen great success with her surprising re-assemblages of familiar 20th-century graphics...
Cristiana Couceiro cannibalises immediately recognisable 20th century graphics in her work
And firmly in that camp is Michelle Thompson, with a wonderfully sensitive approach to this age-old genre. And as well as taking on commercial commissions, she produces a regular flow of self-published personal works as limited edition high-quality Giclée prints (a form inkjet printing that has become increasingly popular with photographers, illustrators and artists alike).
A recent piece called Flight, in this case not a Giclée print but a good old fashioned screen print which Michelle started producing in 2010.
In recent years, Peter Blake has unleashed a plethora of Giclée print work available in many galleries up and down the country on an industrial scale.
Above Peter Blake, James Dean at the Albert Hall 2012
I find Michelle’s non-commercial work extremely beautiful, sensitive and even moving.
Take a look…
Above: Michelle’s other activity: selling prints through galleries. In this case her own yearly 'Open Studio'.
It is not surprising that her work has graced many book covers and editorial spreads around the world. It is great to see a working mum of two managing to juggle the pressures of family life with a creative heart; sadly so many women I have known have hung up their creative hats: a great loss to the design world. But, thankfully, not Michelle: long may she continue cutting and pasting.
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