BE-Style: So tell me a little bit about whom Christopher Thompson is.
CT: Well I am 25 years old, born and raised here in Atlanta, Georgia. I thoroughly enjoy working in any artistic capacity. That seems to be where I find my peace of mind, my solace. So creative works or art from clothing to sketches and painting, I have found that it allows me to speak to those viewing my work without ever speaking a word. And when they get it that is my greatest reward.
BE-Style: When did you start drawing and realized that you were actually talented?
CT: Well I started drawing at the age of 5 or six as far as I can remember. My Mom would always show her friends my pictures and hang them on the refrigerator, but I thought nothing of it. I figured she was just being nice. I would practice drawing from coloring books. My dad was a football coach and I use to love going to his games and experiencing all the excitement. I would go home and draw everything I saw that day wanting to capture that same excitement in my pictures. The first time I really realized I had a gift was when I was in Kinder-garden and we had open house at school. It was during the Christmas season and my teacher asked me to paint a picture of for the bulletin board. So I did a picture of Santa Clause driving his slay and the reindeer’s. The entire night I had all the parents telling me and my parents how talented I was which made me love art even more. I thought to myself, “Wow! I could see myself doing this forever.” Ever since that day I knew I had something that not everyone could do. My talent has not only been a gift but it has been a catalyst that has boosted my self esteem and my career. I often refer to it as my best friend. Whenever I’m sad or down I pull out a pen and pad and it really helps keeps sane. I find it to be somewhat cathartic.
BE-Style: Where are you currently studying and what’s your major?
CT: This summer I’ll be attending SCAD in Atlanta for Fashion Design with a minor in Illustration. I’ve attended Clark Atlanta prior to this but didn’t finish. I chose to go to an art school this time around. Before I was afraid to attend an art school because it is very competitive but I realize I need to be pushed. I need to nurture my God given talents and pursue what I am passionate about.
BE-Style: What influences you in your creative process?
CT: Since I was younger I’ve always had a wild imagination and I’m still a big kid. My dreams influence me a lot, people I come in contact with on a day to day basis influence me, friends, family, other artist, music, nature, and just life experiences. Recently I’ve been more influenced by designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobal Balenciaga. I love them, their work is classic. I have an appreciation for what they have contribution to the industry.
BE-Style: Are there any particular historical periods that you love and appreciate for its artistic value?
CT: My favorite artistic period would have to be Surrealistic art like Salvador Dali. I also love Andy Warhol. I look up to him so much in all of his weirdness, but these two people are pioneers in artistic culture they both were very extreme but so beautiful. I aspire to be like them someday.
BE-Style: Do you plan to have your art showcased in an exhibit and one day a gallery?
CT: I have had my artwork shown in exhibits before but I would like to have one really soon. I really don’t do exhibits because it takes a lot of work and money, and due to economic times people aren’t buying artwork as much as before. I really would like to have a fashion show. I’m currently working to get my t-shirt line started so hopefully that will work out.
BE-Style: What do you want your art to mean to those admiring it? CT: When people see my work I want them to feel like they are apart of it. I love art because it has no hang ups, it’s for everyone to enjoy. I want people to feel inspired and to know that everyone has a talent and nobody is here for nothing. I’m a prime example of that.BE-Style: Is there a process that you start with when drawing and creating images?
CT: Sometimes I think a lot before I draw, not about anything in particular, and when I do that I usually hate the outcome. When I don’t think at all is when I create my best work because you allow yourself to go where ever. The experience is purely organic. I literally sit in front of the paper or canvas and see myself in it. It’s almost like an outer body experience, (LOL). It’s like when your favorite singer sings and you can close your eyes and be there, that’s how I am with a paintbrush. I really try to go there.
BE-Style: I’ve noticed some of you have sketches of fashion designs. Are you looking to be a fashion designer or have a presence in that part of the industry?
CT: Yes. Fashion is definitely something I want to pursue. I love fashion so much more now that see it’s being appreciated as an art. I never thought about that as a career until I got to high school. I went to Tri- Cities High School in East Point, GA for Visual Art. A lot of celebs went there, a lot of creative people came out of that school, and I realized the one thing that they all have in common is that they followed their dreams. I was afraid to tell people I wanted to do fashion design because for one I’m black and there aren’t that many noted black designers, secondly there is the stigma that comes with designers and I really wanted to be me not what people thought I was. Now I just want to do it all the way.
BE-Style: What do you ultimately want to BE in the industry?
CT: I have to say I hate the spotlight so I’m not really interested in the fame or fortune, I’d do this regardless. Everyone tells me I have to get over being so shy and let it come. I did an internship with Derek Blanks (celebrity photographer) and he really helped me understand that with this business and any other business, there are no guarantees but if you do it for the love of it then you’ll never fail. So I think I really just want to be successful for myself. I want to make me proud first and all of the other stuff will follow. I would like to definitely help bring more black designers to the forefront because we are such creative people. Michael Knight is someone I really look up to because he has a great eye for the business. I really just want to start my line under the name NECO DE LORD. It’s like my baby. It’s basically my alter ego the really crazy wild side that everyone has. When people have my stuff on I want everyone to know what it is right off the back. I have a crazy style so my line will be a little animated – full of artistic expression. I love paint and prints on shirts. I’ll probably start off with unisex T’s and move on from there. I want people to know that nothing is impossible!
To contact Christopher @ Neco De Lord on Facebook.com or Myspace.com