DUBOSKI ART COLLAB CO-FOUNDER AND CONTRIBUTOR
From a young age, Thompson has felt a deep connection to the earth and describes a special relationship with Aves in both a tangible and spiritual way. He credits both his Native American/Irish heritage and his mom’s experience of working with animals for his affinity for birds and what they represent. Particularly when he was young, he recounts how his single mom, already stretched thin, would rescue birds and animals in need and take them into their home, providing shelter and care. In discussing his participation in Native American sweat ceremonies (which are performed for spiritual and physical purification), he describes the presence and significance of birds, especially the hummingbird, as a symbol of ancestral wisdom. To Thompson personally, the hummingbird appears in times of tragedy and death as a source of comfort and healing.
Thompson’s paintings are primarily acrylic on canvas with additional use of spray paint, watercolor, gloss, and ink. Intended to be playful, eye-catching, and representative of earth’s beauty, Thompson’s color pallet consists of naturally occurring, vibrant hues such as Bougainvillea magenta, Jacaranda violet, and Arizona turquoise. As a collection, the depiction of birds contribute to his artwork’s central themes of perseverance and perspective. In his paintings, birds represent ultimate freedom and determination. No matter what the issue, conflict, or roadblock, Thompson’s soul birds seek to encourage onlookers to acquire a wider perspective and cast aside barriers. Thompson himself is inspired by these creatures that do not see borders and are not bogged down by ground-level obstacles. He states, “Their take-flight mentality is a reminder, I can overcome this.”
While his soul birds seek to take viewers on a transcendent journey towards enlightenment, Thompson's bold brushwork reflects a much more earthly experience. A graffiti writer from the age of ten, Thompson’s tagging hand styles greatly influence his artistic choice to frame his colorful birds and flowers with thick, black outlines. The effect produces imagery and coloring similar to a beautiful stained-glass window. Thompson openly professes his love of graffiti tagging and admits that “no matter how much I try to fight it, it comes out in my art…it’s part of my spiritual fabric, it’s part of who I am.” Thompson argues that tagging has been around since man was drawing on cave walls; that it creates a spiritual connection to one’s environment and reflects a primal urge to let people know, I was here.
Finally, while his earlier renderings most often depicted birds at rest, Thompson’s work as of late has trended towards birds in mid-flight. In 2014, while discussing his art exhibit “Perched,” Thompson commented to Juxtapose magazine that sitting birds represented “the meditation before taking flight.” But there is a perceived shift in the energy and vitality found in his current work; as if a decisive course of action has been chosen. Moreover, layered on top of collage (made with a collection of rare soul music labels), Thompsons birds en route evoke a playfulness and musicality that is positively uplifting. Since “Perched,” Thompson has become a father and says he has grown in appreciation for the present. His birds in motion reflect an awakening and an acknowledgment that tomorrow is never guaranteed.
Instagram: @cameronthompsonart @stayaware
Photographer credit: Amelia Berumen