Dan Thompson is quite accomplished when it comes to his
accolades. Not only is he a co-founder of the Grand Central Academy of Art and the Janus Collaborative School of Art in New York, he was also appointed Dean at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia this summer,
which according to Dan, is an “extraordinary honor.”
“A school of this caliber must not be underestimated as a place simply to take painting lessons—it is a guild of evolving artistic tactics and a conservatory of timeless figurative practice. As the new artistic leader, I am gratified to be at the vanguard of the conversation.”
In addition to his new position, Dan taught a controlled palette life painting class over the summer at the Art Students League of New York and a class entitled Musculoskeletal Gross Anatomy for the Figurative Artist at Weill Cornell College of Medicine.
There’s no question that Dan has his plate (or should we say palette?) full but he still manages to find time to paint his favorite subject: the human figure. “There is no rival to the human figure. It is a doorway into every metaphor, the embodiment of seeing itself. The figure is us. The human body, layered with rules and systems, structures and sciences, is endlessly rich and ceaselessly expressive. There is no other art which could replace its importance nor hold my fascination as immutably, so long as I inhabit a figure.”
For the last 10 years, Dan has been using Silver Brush LTD® Grand Prix® long and extra long filberts and Silverstone® filberts to create his art because “they are simply the best brushes available,” he says. “I started painting when I was 11 years old. My dad bought me a simple acrylic set and told me that I could work with his oils—but only after I had mastered the ‘preparatory’ acrylic media, using only water as medium.”
One of Dan’s favorite techniques to use in his artwork is the “color spot” technique used by
Edwin Dickinson, who learned it from Charles W. Hawthorne and William Merritt Chase. The
general idea is that the artist puts one stroke of color next to another, next to another and so
on to create an image. This technique is seen clearly in much of Dan’s art.
Currently, Dan is working on a “composition of a full skeleton, arranged within a drapery mass and adorned with metallic pieces. Its kind of Birth of Venus—maybe a Death of Venus! Or a transcendence, which is how it feels. The cathartic aspect of painting is one of its most rejuvenating attractions.”
To the aspiring artist, Dan says this: “Genuine aesthetics are self-derived; Create works that you can look back upon with contentment for having echoed your heart and not contorting your authentic vision to suit someone else’s style.”
To learn more about Dan, visit his website: www.danthompsonart.com
Written by Kira Leilich, Communications Manager at SBL