Feature

MEET GRAD EX 2013 MEDAL WINNER, ALEX THOMPSON (PRINTMAKING)

Alex Thompson at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Alex Thompson at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Alex Thompson's project, Self-Portrait. Image by Alex Thompson.
Part of Alex Thompson's project, Self-Portrait. Image by Alex Thompson.

Alex Thompson’s medal award-winning project, Self-Portrait, took architectural renderings and made them personal. Here’s how he describes it:

My body of thesis work was entitled Self-Portrait, and consisted of architectural renderings of institutions that I felt had a significant impact on my personal development. These were laser engraved onto layers of transparent acrylic, which were suspended from cable to create floating structures. The works drew heavily on my personal memory of the sites, critiquing the generic nature of Modernist structures while drawing upon their aesthetic to communicate the idea of the institution.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

My work has, over the last few years, been moving into a very industrial, architectural territory, and going into my thesis year it really struck home that for the entirety of my life I had existed within educational institutions. The realization was paired with an awareness of the continuous relationship that we as a culture share with some form of institutional environment, and that really got my brain going and motivated me to pursue the idea for my thesis.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

The entire process was a learning curve for me. This was the first time I had focused so much time and energy into a single project for such an extended period, and it was incredibly rewarding. The technical requirements of the project required a lot of trial and error, and I had an excellent support network in the form of the printmaking technicians and my thesis advisors who were on deck to answer questions and lend opinions.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

Working in three dimensions with plastic and cable was new for me, and I am very proud of the final aesthetic the project took on. I had a good idea of what I wanted the piece to look like, and had done many, many tests, but wasn’t exactly sure how the final product would actually look. I got the final components back from rapid prototyping the day before installation at the gallery.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work? 

I had dropped in to the Faculty of Art Office to drop off a form, and Winston Tulloch informed me I had won. I was pretty shocked because I didn’t think I was going to win. It took awhile for it to sink in.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

It’s hard to pinpoint a single memory. The studio environment is a great atmosphere, and has a really collective, collaborative feel. There are tons of great, creative, helpful people in the printmaking studios at OCAD U, and they helped make the studio a home as well as a workplace. I’m definitely going to miss that element of OCAD U.

What are you planning to do next? 

I’m currently working as a drama instructor at Theatre Ancaster, and have a number of ideas for upcoming projects simmering on the backburners. I want to try to get into an assistant position at a gallery in Toronto, and maintain my personal artistic practice. Further schooling may happen, but I need to get out into the “real world” first and get an idea what I want to do with my life.

Find out more about Alex Thompson:

Portfolio




Alex Thompson at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Alex Thompson's project, Self-Portrait. Image by Alex Thompson.

Alex Thompson’s medal award-winning project, Self-Portrait, took architectural renderings and made them personal. Here’s how he describes it:

My body of thesis work was entitled Self-Portrait, and consisted of architectural renderings of institutions that I felt had a significant impact on my personal development. These were laser engraved onto layers of transparent acrylic, which were suspended from cable to create floating structures. The works drew heavily on my personal memory of the sites, critiquing the generic nature of Modernist structures while drawing upon their aesthetic to communicate the idea of the institution.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

My work has, over the last few years, been moving into a very industrial, architectural territory, and going into my thesis year it really struck home that for the entirety of my life I had existed within educational institutions. The realization was paired with an awareness of the continuous relationship that we as a culture share with some form of institutional environment, and that really got my brain going and motivated me to pursue the idea for my thesis.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

The entire process was a learning curve for me. This was the first time I had focused so much time and energy into a single project for such an extended period, and it was incredibly rewarding. The technical requirements of the project required a lot of trial and error, and I had an excellent support network in the form of the printmaking technicians and my thesis advisors who were on deck to answer questions and lend opinions.

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

Working in three dimensions with plastic and cable was new for me, and I am very proud of the final aesthetic the project took on. I had a good idea of what I wanted the piece to look like, and had done many, many tests, but wasn’t exactly sure how the final product would actually look. I got the final components back from rapid prototyping the day before installation at the gallery.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work? 

I had dropped in to the Faculty of Art Office to drop off a form, and Winston Tulloch informed me I had won. I was pretty shocked because I didn’t think I was going to win. It took awhile for it to sink in.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

It’s hard to pinpoint a single memory. The studio environment is a great atmosphere, and has a really collective, collaborative feel. There are tons of great, creative, helpful people in the printmaking studios at OCAD U, and they helped make the studio a home as well as a workplace. I’m definitely going to miss that element of OCAD U.

What are you planning to do next? 

I’m currently working as a drama instructor at Theatre Ancaster, and have a number of ideas for upcoming projects simmering on the backburners. I want to try to get into an assistant position at a gallery in Toronto, and maintain my personal artistic practice. Further schooling may happen, but I need to get out into the “real world” first and get an idea what I want to do with my life.

Find out more about Alex Thompson:

Portfolio