Anatomy Of A Design: A Closer Look At The Work Of Glenyse Thompson

Contemporary Artist Glenyse Thompson joins us to discuss the creative process in creating the “Conversations” and “Big Shoulders” series.

Raymond Paul Schneider: When did you first start to develop these new works?
Glenyse Thompson: I began the first studies for the “Conversations” series in 2015 but I would say the idea was solidly developed in 2018.

Raymond: What was your initial inspiration, and where did the idea(s) come from?
Glenyse: My initial inspiration was inspired by difficult conversations with a colleague. Overall, I was having a hard time articulating and being understood. At first, there was no clear path of where I was going creatively, it was just fun, and for hours I could lose myself in the process. As I continued to create, a focus emerged showing that “conversations” are so necessary to our lives, yet we often do not pay enough attention to them or our interactions with others.

Raymond: Please describe your overall creative and design process.
Glenyse: Overall, my artwork is about people and I may be inspired by a conversation, music or interactions at an event.

The background colors visually display people as exuberant and lively. Or a background is black, which may seem stark, but I feel is sensuous and adds more questions. Hand-drawn lines represent the conversations we have with each other. As they flow from one to another, stop and start, breakfast conversation to the after-party, the lines show that we are nothing without one another. We need each other to survive and thrive. This is the “Conversations” series.

“Big Shoulders” was developed as an extension of the “Conversations” series. Big, broad and small strokes represent us in all shapes, colors and sizes and illustrate how we all stand on the shoulders of one another.

Early on I would sketch what the idea should represent, but I stopped doing so as the final work never matched my vision. I now choose one color to start, and then add color organically. Colors are applied individually and then left to dry below the next layer is added. After a few layers of ink, the work starts coming to life. I love how each artwork eventually shows its personality and character to me. Hand-drawn lines are added as a final step (sometimes no lines are added too-though this is rare).

Raymond: Did you have a specific audience or theme that you had in mind?
Glenyse: I create original abstract art for fine art collectors and interior designers as well as license original or commissioned art for commercial applications.

Raymond: Please describe the methods, tools, and materials you used to develop and prototype this design?
Glenyse: The design process for new work starts with an 11×14” heavy white or black paper and one-color selection. I primarily use liquid inks to create backgrounds. The ink used is lightfast and waterproof; both qualities help retain brilliancy. Each layered color takes a few hours to dry. It is not uncommon for a work to have as many as 20 layers of ink. Once I am happy with the colors, I hand-draw gold or white lines onto the background.

One of my favorite tools is old credit cards or hotel room keys. I will layer cement on Ampersand Art Aquabord panels and follow up with a thick coating of acrylic paint applied and smoothed out with an old credit card. Liquid ink is added for effervescence.

If I love how the smaller work turns out, that idea is translated to a larger format up to 5×7 feet.

Raymond: Please describe any challenges that affected the design and perhaps steered you to an entirely new final design?
Glenyse: Initially, I created my backgrounds with watercolors. The transparency was beautiful, but I found watercolors were not the most permanent and colorful solution (with every new layer I worried the last would be lifted and changed). I wanted to employ a method that would be less precious. My design process was completely overhauled once I found that inks were very hard to ruin or change once applied. This freed me to think more broadly about my overall use of color.

Raymond: Describe your overall brand DNA and Ethos
Glenyse: While provoking conversation Glenyse Thompson Contemporary Art illuminates business and personal spaces with colorful abstract art. Through the vibrant use of colors and textures, her artwork conveys the exuberant connections we have with each other and our environments.

Click here to see more of our “Anatomy of a Design” series.

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