Local Artist Spotlight: Jonathan Thompson

Published on 11 January 2022

Frankston Artist Grant recipient, Jonathan Thompson

Frankston artist Jonathan Thompson is inspired to continue up-scaling his sculptures and art with the support of Frankston City’s Artist Project Grant.

With over 20 years of experience in various mediums and techniques, Jonathan is committed to showing other disabled artists that it is possible to achieve exhibitions of their own. With a goal to upscale his works and create a large public sculpture, Thompson is determined to keep creating.

"My main inspiration is to share my sculptures with the community where I live and create, and raise the visibility of Artists with a disability."

Thompson’s sculptures seek to question and provoke a response from the viewer, a playful arresting series of figurines which ‘draw a poetic reference to the works of Henry Moore in their pared down expression of the subject’. Inspired by the everyday, Thompson reinterprets the world around him through his work, redefines and reshapes his ideas through his unique processes and wants the Frankston community to view his sculptures and ‘[look] at it, [talk] about it, and hopefully [enjoy] it’.

The pandemic impacted Jonathan socially, isolating him from some of his biggest inspirations (friends and family) and his mentor Mark.

"During the pandemic I found it extremely frustrating as I was unable to connect with people face to face. I’m a hands on person and it was very difficult over zoom trying to take suggestions on board from my mentor Mark. I felt very isolated."

Despite these (all too familiar) struggles, the pandemic brought Jonathan the idea of casting his sculptures in bronze. Previously utilising second-hand or discarded materials such as aluminium foil and masking tape, this step was revolutionary for Jonathan's work.

"Prior to COVID I was still making my figures out of various materials but I was confused at how to produce the final product. It was during the pandemic that Mark suggested one zoom session, that I should have some of my figures cast in bronze."

"I was amazed at the results."

Jonathan is looking forward to his art to be displayed in the Frankston Arts Centre and is "incredibly overwhelmed and so grateful to receive this grant".

"It would be fantastic if I can get feedback on my works in the Hope of creating a larger public sculpture. It means so much to me to be chosen & such an opportunity to be involved with other local artists."

Jonathan was recently shortlisted for The Tom Bass Prize for figurative sculpture and will travel to Sydney for the Finalists' Exhibition in March 2022.

Frankston Council significantly expanded its Community and Business Grants program during the pandemic to support artists and creatives.

Designed to help artists and those working in creative industries to pursue their passion while delivering culturally important work to the community, they included Artist Project Grants and Professional Development Grants.

This was a result of the $6.434 million Relief and Recovery Package, which the council created to help Frankston City recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about artist grant recipients and opportunities for local creatives, subscribe to the Frankston Arts Centre e-news.

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