8/13/2002 -
Toronto Goth
Porl Thompson - 100% Sky
September 15 - November 10, 2002
Opening Reception: Sunday, September 15, 2002 from 1 - 4pm

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"100% Sky" - Porl Thompson's North American Premier
By Jennifer Kelland Wood, Curator

On September 15th in a quaint venue just 45 minutes outside of Toronto, called Homer Watson House & Gallery, Porl Thompson will exhibit his art in North America for the first time. Many of you know Porl from his time with the British band The Cure. Not only was he a guitarist with this group for years, he was also responsible for many amazing album cover designs that influenced endless numbers of artist's throughout the world. Always an artist himself, Porl reached cult status years ago and recently has been exhibiting his unique artwork in a lovely gallery in the south of England near where he calls home.

Porl's influences read like a who's who of modern masters - Matisse, Miro, Rodin, Man Ray, Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky, Warhol, Basquiat, De Kooning and Rothko just to name a few. These great artist's works echo in the mind of Thompson and upon his canvas as well. Porl's own unique art is largely based on images seen whilst dreaming. He works predominantly in the dark or by candlelight, often just after waking. The result, at any given dawn, is a number of sketches - what Porl calls "auto-night drawing". These works, representing the ethereal landscapes of the mind, are then rendered upon large canvasses via drawing, painting and collage methods.

During this exhibit, the rooms within the gallery will be turned into "a dreamscape". Thompson will present images that consider the many imprints left upon the psyche after a night of dreaming and play with some of the natural light sources for the rooms by installing hand-made paper blinds which contain symbols. These art pieces will shift and change with the light, unexpectedly and randomly, like the mind does when left to wander in the unconscious world of sleep.

Not long ago it was my complete pleasure to chat with Porl via e-mail about his artwork and more.

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Jennifer Kelland Wood: Because your original success was as a musician, is your art a visual representation of your music? Are they inseparable?
Porl Thompson: i don't feel a difference between the mediums... apart from the physical side, emotionally they are inseparable From music to the work of other artists, from your dream-state to the waking, radically different world...what influences your art? the moment i like to paint in the feeling of being an inward view of states... altered or otherwise

Does living so close to the sea in a small town allow you a certain "freedom to create"? Would a big city such as London fence you in?
not at all, i like to respond to all things...different lights different emotions extremes of my nature

Is British art unique? Has Britain influenced you?
no.... i don't think of my art as British modern Britain has no influence on me. i do however get inspiration from the sites of ancient Britain. i like some British work..... Roger Hilton, Howard Hodgkin, Tracy Emin, Anthony Gormley, some Peter Lanyon. i am mostly excited by Spanish and French and American painters......Matisse, Miro, Rodin, Man Ray, Bonnard, Picasso, Cocteau, Klee, Kandinsky, Warhol, Basquiat, De kooning ,Rothko , Don van Vliet .......

Do you feel that your fame in popular music has limited your ability to be recognized for your visual art?

i can't take the fame thing seriously. i paint because i have to, i always have done! if people like my work that's great but not necessary

How have your fellow musicians responded to your artistic endeavours?
most of them are pretty arty so it seems to work for them

What do you feel is the foremost personal quality necessary to being a successful artist?
staying true to your nature. painting for yourself

How do you feel about the internet as a medium to display visual art?
as with any medium, if you use your imagination it can be fun and rewarding it's a good way for people to see what you are up to

Do you see the internet as a forum for interactive art, such as how your web site encourages the viewer to explore each painting to find the next link?
any way in is fine by me

What do you see as the futuristic extensions of visual art?
well i think the cd rom and dvd medium look pretty interesting . i'm hoping to work on an interactive cd rom involving paintings and music and link the whole thing up

According to you, what role does the artist play in the world today?
for me its as a mediator between the sub conscious and expressionism, a teller of the way it is or could be

Do you listen to music when you create your art? If so, what's in your stereo right now?
i love to have really loud music on or none at all
either way i am happy
there's a cd of flamenco guitar in the player now
but i listen to all ranges of music from stockhausen/ Meredith monk / captain beafheart/ beastie boys and an endless list of others
i have a tape of the words of the Sufi poet Rumi which i find very inspiring

What is your life's greatest passion?

If you could only paint one more piece, what would it be and why?
it would have to be a huge automatic piece (multi media) that would take a very long time as i would hate the idea of having to stop

You have designed many album covers, which one was your favourite, which would you change and why?
my favourite has to be 'wish' as it was fun to do and very personal. Andy Vella and i were left to get on with it. i honestly wouldn't change any that i was involved with they were all fun to do

During your career as a visual artist, has there ever been a time where you have experienced an artistic block and if so, how did you create again?
i think the word block is an ego thing,
its just a time to stop and do something else, take stock, get a life!
it's not that important

What is your favourite medium?
i like to muck around and experiment with anything that makes an interesting mark or image
i tend to start a piece with paper and acrylic and cut up recycled old canvases and build from there
but i still like go back to oil and canvas, it's so physical

Who is your favourite visual artist and why?
????? i couldn't put it down to one
i love Don van Vliet's work it's like poetry spat onto canvas
Jean Michel Basquiat just the flow of words and thought into automatic action
but many others equally

Do you prefer studio work or going on location? Do you draw when you are on tour or vacation?
studio and bedroom.
to eliminate technique and keep close to the subconscious i like to work in the dark at night
i doodle and make notes/automatic sketches when i'm away
but i love to get back to my studio and keep it intense
a vital space

When not making music or art, what is your favourite pass time?
just being with my family on a warm sunny pebbly beach

What is your personal goal for your career as an artist?
to smile as another painting says its done

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
5 years on.....!

Porl Thompson's "100 % Sky" will open on September 15th, 2002 and exhibit until November 10th, 2002. Homer Watson House & Gallery is located 45 minutes outside of Toronto, just off the 401 in Kitchener, Ontario. Take the Homer Watson Blvd. Exit and follow the blue "M" (for museum) signs. The gallery is located at 1754 Old Mill Road, about 5 minutes off the highway. Please check out or call 519-748-4377, Tuesday - Sunday 12pm - 4:30pm for more information.

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