About her art making, Kate Thompson (b. 1989) states, “I share what’s in my head and that’s all.” Luckily, her head is filled with beautiful drawings, which have been collecting at a furious rate in our studio since she joined Creativity Explored in 2011.
She most often chooses locations in San Francisco–Chinatown, Fillmore Street, Safeway–and assuredly renders them in ink. The densely detailed facades and interiors employ multiple perspectives that give depth and activity. And if the setting calls for a tree, it will be one of her lovely, stylized versions of the iconic Monterey Pine. Yet, the landscape in a Thompson piece is always the basis for a situation: “I like to tell stories, about my drawing or about myself. I like to draw things where people are doing things, people on bikes, on buses.” Her crowd scenes highlight the individuality of each person rather than repeated generic forms. The groups are filled with fashionable women, and men who are always ready to dance with them. Every figure has unique details of clothing and jewelry, sometimes for more than 80 individuals!
As befits the storytelling impulse that guides her work, Thompson uses dialog within the piece to specify an activity or add a tonal element. The phrases, written in comicbook-style speech balloons, are friendly and optimistic: “I’m so happy that you are at the ARC, you’ll like it there”, “That’s a great idea”, or, from an onlooker at a wedding ceremony, “I’m feeling emotional right now.” The balloons themselves are integrated into the scene; they slip behind and between people and architecture, perfectly capturing the fleeting moments of spoken words drifting off into the air.