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Artist's Notebook

Grill-master and Artist H. John Thompson Serves Evocative Feast


Artist H. John Thompson
JELLYPRESS WAS ON THE SCENE Wednesday July 8th at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia for the opening of “Dave and Jim” an installation and performance piece by my good friend and fellow painter, H. John Thompson. Inside his evocative construction of embellished chain link fencing surrounding two living yards of grass, University graduate students and faculty gathered around to share potluck summer fare as John manned the grill. For more photos, John’s fascinating concept for his piece and a taste of what it’s like to eat charcoal-roasted corn and hot dogs inside a work of art, read on.


If you are an art world watcher, you may be aware of some artists who are creating installation pieces that incorporate performance such as the making of food in an environment. Rirkrit Tiravanija, the Thai artist who brings life to galleries (literally) by cooking for and alongside gallery-goers is one of these. For John, sharing food inside his installation piece was an interesting way to bring the university community together.

The piece itself draws from quintessential suburban fenced yards for inspiration. John’s idea was to lift this suburban aesthetic from its usual environment and insert it into the prominent urban landscape of busy Broad Street. “It’s a one-time suburban utopia in an urban landscape,” says Carol Moore, an artist and U Arts professor.

John rocked the grill. By the way, his love of good food was nurtured by his grandfather, Art Sketchley, of Sketchley’s Bakery, 316 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville, PA, (215-357-8765) where John’s art studio resides a floor below the bustling pastry shop.

Here’s the scene pre-party where you can see John’s carefully made construction. John, from a long line of master carpenters, is a painter who visualizes his constructions as paintings.

Here’s the yard where a table was placed for participants.

In full swing . . .image

The view from the piece looking down Broad Street where you can really see the wonderful contrast between the suburban-styled installation and the urban scene beyond

Badass Ginger Cookies homemade by yours truly alongside a well-known American dessert icon, another study in contrasts.
If you’re in Philly this summer, look for John’s installation at Hamilton Hall, corner of Pine Street and South Broad Street. File under: Just Too Cool.Got an inquiry or comment for John? He’d love to hear from you. Email him at hjohnthompsonworks@google.com
All artwork pictured in the photographs are protected by copyright law. “Dave and Jim” copyright 2009, H. John Thompson.
To check out another great artist who uses food in her art, check out fifth generation cook Nicole Peyrafitte at her fabulous blog: http://nicolepeyrafitte.com/blog/

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Yes, all the artwork on Jellypress was done by Nancy. Go to the Jellypress Art page

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Sorry I missed that! I went to grad school at UArts. Great to see some familiar sites.

    – Christine (July 14 2009 at 9:29)

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