Tony Thompson was born in 1985 in Lynchburg, VA. He was raised in Syracuse, NY and is currently based in Utica, NY. Tony began exploring his creative side at a young age. Using the utensils that were in front of him daily, he began to draw as a sort of escape method from the struggles and anxiety he experienced in the classroom. Drawing became his form of daydreaming and his main subjects were super heroes and monsters. As he continued through school he was unknowingly perfecting his art style because of this need to focus on something other than the subject at hand. In the late 90‘s, the influence of the graffiti he passed every day on the bus, began to show up in his work. The graffiti scene in his area became an inspiration, and his style changed with this new interest. In addition to the influence of local graffiti, he was also exploring the art of sculpture while in high school. He often spent his lunch and after school time working with ceramics.
While traditional schooling did not seem to be the answer to him, he enrolled in a Fine Arts program in college based on advice from his teachers and parents. The common thought was that “art school” was the most logical next step. The restrictions of the assignments and traditional techniques did not prove to be the best method of learning for Tony, and due to this, he did not complete the Fine Arts program. He did, however, continue to hone his skills as an artist and at that time was focused primarily on graffiti/street art. While still in college, he took a class in screen printing, which proved to further his artistic pursuits.
After many years of being a working screen printer and graffiti artist Tony became a full time working artist where his graffiti/street art turned into paid murals and smaller scale paintings on found objects to be displayed in galleries. His style has evolved constantly through new influences and self taught methods.Perhaps stemming from his early propensity for drawing on books, binders, desks and walls, Tony’s work is almost strictly painted on found objects including everyday trash and other discarded items. This non traditional approach gives objects that would otherwise be useless, a new life as a piece of art. While some may look at these items as garbage, he looks at them as unique canvases that are beautiful in their own right. The mediums that he uses are simple and effective, usually involving combinations of screen printing, spray paint, latex, acrylic, watercolor, paint marker and oil pastels. The early influences and themes of his work can still be seen in his surreal urban imagery which often contains repeating themes such as monsters, teeth and buildings or city structures. Spray paint cans and caps also appear frequently due to his respect for, and background in, graffiti.
Over the years of being a full time working artist, Tony has experienced some serious health issues that have limited his ability for certain periods of time to create work in the style that he was accustomed to previously. These recurring physical constrictions have forced him to work in more simplistic styles. He has embraced this as a part of his direction within his work and has always admired this quality in the work of others and especially in the simplistic innocence of children’s work. He has learned not only to allow this style to look simple but also has managed to make the simplistic work become more complex. Tony’s work continues to be shown throughout Central New York.