Artist Interview | JT Thompson

Become acquainted with perhaps a few unknown dimensions – thoughts, ambitions, wisdoms, life changing moments – of this inspiring artist.

JT Thompson, artist

When it comes to your art, explain what you do.

My work employs multiple views of spaces and corridors, simplified and abstracted to produce a contemporary composition of geometric shapes and planes with graphic over-tones. Varied light sources are added to create an intriguing sense of spatial depth. Perspective is played with through overlapping layers, scale, and foreshortening, helping to create an illusion of spatial extent, and then breaking it.

This challenging framework offers the viewer a suggestion of space and perspective that seems disjointed or distorted. The shifting physical spaces mirror the shifting interplay between the varied psychological perspectives of the viewer’s mind.

Art by JT Thompson

What project are you working on now?

I have shows coming up in the new year in Chicago and in Ohio. In the New Year I have a mural project in the works in Columbus, Ohio.

How has your practice changed over time?

I still work every day in the studio, some days longer than others. My technique has changed. I used to use heavy brushwork but now in this new body of work, I have gotten away from brush work.

Describe a real-life experience that inspired you.

In my early years in college, my art teacher had us students copy the “isms” styles like the masters. I stayed in the “ism” style but made them my own. My teacher pointed this out in my review. This observation by my teacher was inspiring to me.

Art by JT Thompson

What superpower would you like to have?

The power to relieve pain and suffering. To help my fellow beings.

Why do you do what you do?

I work in a style I call Geometric Surrealism. I abstract and manipulate physical spaces to create a highly skewed vision of reality. For me, it is a metaphoric exploration of the mind’s process of constructing an understanding of the world, as influenced by the psyche.

The inspiration comes from looking at everyday life and shadows and translating that to my canvases. Some of the things you’ll see in my paintings are the off kilter use of one-point and two-point perspective. Some deal more with flat shapes and movement. Some have a surreal atmosphere and misleading horizon lines. I will use colour to move the eye through the composition and distort the space. 

The creative process just happens now. I don’t have a sketch to go by. Usually if I do make a sketch it transforms into something else on the canvas. It’s not a thought process, it’s more like I am a tool of the muse in laying down the line work and building a composition. I do collect reference images, but when I’m making the compositions, I don’t have anything in front of me, I just start breaking it out. I don’t have any plan going in, I just start mapping out the movement.

JT Thompson, artist

What is your strongest childhood memory?

It was my seventh-grade art teacher Mrs. Spindler who pushed me in an artistic direction. At the time I wasn’t too into art; I was more interested in talking to the girls I shared a table with in her class. I did too much flirting, and one time she got really mad at me and told me to go sit at a table by myself at the back of the room. She said, “I don’t care what it is, but you’d better have a drawing by the end of the class or I’m going to fail you.” I didn’t really have an idea of what to do, and I just took my shoe off, moved the laces around a little bit, and did a line drawing of the shoe. And it actually looked like my shoe. It was enough to impress Mrs. Spindler. She told me I should stop talking to girls and focus on art. This moment of being scolded by my middle school teacher precipitated an important shift in my self-understanding. Her positive feedback and encouragement allowed me to take art seriously, and as such has given me a mode of self-expression that has played a large role in my life.

What is your scariest experience?

I was working on a 17’x106’ mural and the ladder started to slide and was going to hit my co-artist, so I had to hold on so I could take the brunt of the pain to my shoulder.

What is your pet peeve about the art world?

Small-minded and hard to find representation!

What is your dream creative project?

My dream project to go around the world and create murals with the help of local communities.

Art by JT Thompson

Which place in the world do you find to be the most inspiring?

My studio, my imagination, and long walks through the city at night.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Simplicity can be a powerful technique.

What are your hobbies?

Searching for knowledge, outdoor activities.

Creatively, where do you see yourself in the next five years?

My plan is to be represented on the two coasts and in Chicago.

JT Thompson is currently based in Ohio, USA. Visit

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Pamela M Dunphy
Pamela M Dunphy
November 6, 2019 11:41 am

I teach art at the elementary school in Old Town, Maine. The fourth grade is working on projects that use geometry as a starting point for art. Anyway, during lunch and surfing the web I found your work and I love it. I will share it with my students.
Pam Dunphy