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Terry Thompson Art

American, b. 1963

For nearly twenty years, Thompson has focused primarily on painting old neon signs that have somehow avoided the wrecking ball - the signs that have lived and beat the odds.  These sculptural signs exist as historically and emotionally charged metaphors for the unrelenting passage of time.  In his paintings, Thompson seeks to to reveal the hidden beauty of these banal, rusty relics, by rendering them in paint.  

Thompson finds his subjects while exploring the forgotten back streets of cities across the United States.  This act of discovery coupled with being in the physical presence of these signs, is crucial to his process.  Thompson is searching for the diamonds in the discarded materials of our heavily commercial culture - the hidden beauty in the mundane and often-overlooked.  

Thompson is fascinated by packaging typography and graphics and has done a series of vintage food product paintings depicting TV dinners, soda and soup cans, cereal boxes, and candy wrappers.  The oversized and playful paintings of these products take the mundane and re-packages it for our contemporary eyes - objects that were used and thrown away take on a new power to evoke emotion and memory.   

Thompson delves deep into the brilliant design aesthetic of the objects.  From a time before the current mass media advertising bombardment of the devices we all carry in our pockets, these iconic signs and packages were an essential forms of advertising - if the sign caught your eye, you’d remember it.  Instead of repetition as is the case now, designers had perhaps only one shot to make that statement.  

Text is a common thread uniting both the sign and packaging paintings as is Thompson’s interest in capturing what is often considered purely functional and utilitarian by one era yet comes to mean more in the ensuing years.  These signs or product packages represent so much more with the passage of time - our youth and the ever present nostalgia for the perceived “simpler times” of the past.  

Terry Thompson was born in 1963 in Mountain View, CA.  His initial studies were in industrial technology and he worked as an equipment engineer for various tech companies in Silicon Valley.  While the work was interesting to Thompson, he could not get away from painting and went on to receive his BA and MFA from San Jose State University (CA).  Thompson has exhibited throughout the West Coast and his work can be found in private collections throughout the world and in the permanent collections of The San Jose Museum of Art, The Nevada Museum of Art, The California Museum -Sacramento, The de Saisset Museum of Art - Santa Clara University, and The Fort Wayne Museum of Art.  Terry Thompson lives and works in San Francisco.

(Biography provided by George Billis Gallery)
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Artist: Terry Thompson
TV Dinner - Ham
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Represented by George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles -- Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the h...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Oil, Panel

TV Dinner, Fried Chicken
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Represented by George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles -- Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the h...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Oil, Panel

Santa Fe Motel
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the hand-bent, glass tubes. I enjoy the sculptural, mechan...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Oil, Canvas

Tropicana Motor Hotel
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the hand-bent, glass tubes. I enjoy the sculptural, mechan...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Canvas, Oil

Circus Liquor
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the hand-bent, glass tubes. I enjoy the sculptural, mechan...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Canvas, Oil

Vince's Spaghetti
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the hand-bent, glass tubes. I enjoy the sculptural, mechan...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Canvas, Oil

Rio
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the hand-bent, glass tubes. I enjoy the sculptural, mechan...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Oil, Canvas

Hollywood Premiere
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the hand-bent, glass tubes. I enjoy the sculptural, mechan...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Oil, Canvas

Aladdin
By Terry Thompson
Located in Westport, CT
Artist Statement Nothing But Neon, 2021 I see beauty in old neon signs. I have always been fascinated by the glow inside the hand-bent, glass tubes. I enjoy the sculptural, mechan...
Category

2010s Photorealist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Canvas, Oil

Garden of Eden
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Thompson's oil paintings of neon signage explore his appreciation for how these hand-made signs are built. This may be a result of the many years he spent as an equipment engineer in...
Category

2010s American Realist Terry Thompson Art

Materials

Oil, Canvas

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Terry Thompson art for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs offers a wide variety of authentic Terry Thompson art for sale. If you're looking for a way to add color to a neutral corner of your living room or bedroom, you can find work that includes elements of blue, pink and other colors. You can also browse by medium to find art by Terry Thompson in oil paint, paint, canvas and more. Much of this artist's original work was created during the 21st Century and Contemporary, and is mostly associated with the photorealist style. Not every interior allows for large Terry Thompson art, so small editions measuring 24 inches across are available. Customers interested in this artist might also find the work of Anne Lyman Powers, Matt Condron and John McCormick. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $6,000 and tops out at $10,500, while the average work can sell for $7,800.

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