Studio Artist Closeup: Stephanie Thompson
Stephanie Thompson, a sophomore Studio Arts major, works in Alexis Hall on a set of paintings depicting two nude models. The figures crouch in defensive postures. “I think I want to call them, ‘The Space Between,’” she says.
Most of Thompson’s work tackles the subject of mental illness. She agrees that her work is useful as an outlet for her own struggles with mental health. Thompson places a canvas painting of a young girl up on the wall. The girl’s eyes are oversized and frightened. “That has a lot to do with growing up in a less than stellar household,” she says. The eyes communicate the condition of hyper-vigilance, a condition with which Thompson is quite familiar. “You’re always waiting for something to happen and you’re always on guard. You become super-sensitive to all of your senses. It’s the result of certain types of trauma, especially if it occurs in a place where you are supposed to feel safe.”
Thompson is unable to return to school next semester due to financial challenges. Despite the obstacle, she is committed to her craft. She plans to work on nude model studies over the summer and eventually move abroad with her boyfriend and SFUAD Creative Writing alumnus Juro Gagne. They haven’t settled on a destination country as of yet, but wherever they go, Thompson says she will keep a travel journal. “It will be a way for me to stay consistent with narrative illustrating without having a deadline. Which won’t be possible anyway if I’m living in a yurt.”