by Johnny Murdoc
Drew Thompson (aka Drew Digital) is a 28 year old artist from St. Louis and SEX+STL’s latest collaborator in our quest to foster a sex positive environment in the city. His work brings digital artwork alive in a way that has to be seen to be believed, one that can’t be captured simply by checking out his work at home on your computer screen. It’s a good thing, then, that you’ll have a chance to check out Drew’s work tomorrow night at the Stables for our 7 Sexy Sins Happy Hour and Fundraiser.
I sat down with Drew (and by that I mean I sent him an e-mail, so I’m only assuming we were both sitting) to discuss his work and the upcoming 7 Sexy Sins party.
First of all, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I consider myself to be a Jack-of-All-Trades. Enjoying just about everything, I really like exploring new things. Food has to be one of my biggest passions right now, and I worship it plenty. I’m an atheist, and I was never raped by religion which makes me a pretty understanding person. I thank my parents for that. Though, I don’t know if I can really call myself an only child, I grew up 11 years before my first brother arrived, and have all the symptoms of one. I’m a Midwest boy through and through. Born in Champaign, IL, graduated from Monticello High School, and attended the University of Illinois. I came into college thinking that I was going to be a graphic designer, but later realized that sitting at a desk all day in front of a computer wouldn’t really satisfy me. So, I decided upon sculpture as a major and graduated with a BFA in it in 2005. I moped around Champaign for about a year after graduation, and decided to head to a bigger pond. I heard that Saint Louis was cheap so I ended up here.
Can you tell us a little about your work?
Watching a friend of mine play around with his scanner made me realize that there was a niche for this in the contemporary art scene. I went out an bought myself one and started playing around with it, drawing on napkin while at work, then, bringing them home and popping them into this machine. I was able to get a lot out of just one napkin, and the scanner opened up the possibility of making some really interesting work. As I started to toy around with it more, I started upgrading the materials I used and went from cheap free napkins to expensive papers and transparencies. It really started to open some thing up, and my Photoshop skills started to improve.
I was ready to start exploring how to materialize these digital images and was looking for something that would set my pieces apart from ones on canvas and paper. I stumbled upon thick sheets of acrylic that signs were printed on. Figuring they had to start as a digital file, I went into a sign shop and found the perfect medium for the work. I like to consider the work a study in sculpture, painting, photography, and design. Most of the work I do is pretty abstract and very loud. They really shine in their ability to show detail and texture on flat surfaces.
What inspired you to contact SEX+STL to co-sponsor a fundraising event?
About a year ago, I went to Naughti Gras with the Rockabilly Couple, and was really floored by the response it got from the community. This was a supportive crowd. I heard about Kendra’s legal issues through her blog, and wanted to help. I figured we could mesh the two and give this crowd something else to do a little down the road. Knowing that Kendra and some of her friends were models, it only made sense to have her bring that element into the party as well. Who doesn’t like staring at naked people for a couple hours at a time?
What kind of art can people expect at the upcoming 7 Sexy Sins party?
I like shapes and colors. I guess that’s the abstract artist in me. I’m all over the board with my work and things tend to not have a common thread. So look out for some interesting work that doesn’t follow a common thread. There will be a mix of my abstract work and some the newest erotic work that I have been working on.
Has your work always had an erotic element to it, or is that a more recent development?
The erotic is new to me and really only started coming about when I started reading Kendra’s blog. It only makes sense that I hold a benefit for her then, right? I started researching the erotic art scene back in December, and the art that really inspired me was the more formal work. I liked the shapes of the shadows and the way the light bounces off of the figures. I can get some really nice abstract images out of them that get people to turn their head and say, “Is that a nipple?”
Do you use original photography or work from existing materials?
I use existing digital images that I’m able to download off of the internet. There’s a lack of control that way. It makes it more about my ability to work with what’s available and allows for me to concentrate more on the composition of the work. Though, I would love to start collaborating with some photographers to get the shapes I want and really start taking the work to a different level
What other erotic artists inspire or excite you?
This is where I get into a little bit of trouble with other artists. I don’t really have any erotic artists in my sights that I look at or find inspiration in. Finding inspiration for me, is as easy as a walk down the street or something I watch on television. I like to watch a little porn here and there, but wouldn’t say I take any thing artistic from it other than the discovery of what body styles arouse me. Most of the more talked about erotic artists really base their work on shock value, where I’m really more interested in shapes and ambiguity. Looking at some of my current work, it appears I have a thing for dancers (and not in the Sauget fashion).
How can people find your work, and how can they contact you to find out more?
I currently keep a website which is in need of some updating: http://www.drew-digital.com.
If you wanted to see some of the pieces in person, you can check out some pieces in the Gelateria Tavolini on Washington Ave., Schon over in Brentwood (across from the Galleria), and in the Central West End on McPhereson in the Elements of Design Studio.
So what can people expect at the 7 Sexy Sins party?
Philanthropy meets sexuality. My art is really the least important thing there. If you want to see where Saint Louis’ sexual pulse is, it will be there. It has a little of something for everyone. Al Swacker from KDHX will be DJing with the Rockabilly Boy to keep the happy hour bumping. We also have four (maybe five) models posing for artists to draw, each in poses depicting the 7 deadly sins. Free pizza will be provided to keep those appetites appeased. Also, it will be the place to meet new people and some heavy networking will surely be going down. I look forward to seeing everyone there.
Happy Hour will be from 5:30-7:30 and art show will be from 7:30-9:30. Artist Drew Thompson will be selling artwork, proceeds to go to Kendra Holliday Legal Defense Fund. Rockabilly Boy & Al Swacker will be DJing.
The Three Muses will be modeling nude that night – bring your sketchpad! The Trifecta includes a blond, brunette and redhead. This is the first time they have ever modeled all together – it’s been on their wish list for over two years! Special guest and SEX+STL co-founder David Wraith will be making an especially sinful guest appearance as well.
SO excited for tomorrow night! Great interview, Johnny & Drew!