Bone, linseed oil, citrus extract from orange peels, earth paints and crayons- these are the materials of choice for Canadian urban artist Stefan Thompson. Thompson is studied in environmental science and looks to his surroundings for his medium and inspiration. Somewhere along the way to practicing art, he realized paint was toxic and set out to replace it with eco-friendly alternatives. Whether you find yourself walking through the city or woods near his studio, you might stumble upon a birch tree scorched into a mass of his organic characters. Among the work he’s exhibited is nontoxic acrylic paintings in surprising colors, stick sculptures like his Grassdeer, and reliefs of animals in driftwood, to name a few.
For his recent exhibition at Wall Space Gallery in Ottawa, “Rituals”, he created an indoor forest complete with a full scale mural of his ‘spirit animals’ to compliment his totem-esque carvings and paintings. Thompson’s abstract portraits of toothy wood animals recall stories like Wind in the Willows, while others are more surreal. His homemade palette feels as natural and primitive as the Lascaux cave drawings. Always, his work possesses a nature theme that reflects the animal-like curiosity inside all of us.