Lee Thompson

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What is my work about?

I am interested in how art relates with the passing of time. Unlike a historical document or a weather forecast, art can be continuously experienced in the present moment, no matter how long ago it was created. It is my hope to create an art that slows things down. Art as a bridge between the present moment and the disappearing past, a way to preserve, appreciate and experience the time in which we live, especially the parts we can’t fully explain.


Artist Statement

Slides 1-10

Super Graphics

This is a collection of digital collages made from photographs that I took in Los Angeles between 2008-2013. The imagery comes from hand painted signs, textures and markings on the walls and sidewalks throughout the city. Most of these signs live a short life. As the businesses move or close down the signs quickly disappear behind new layers of paint. After being documented, the pictures become part of a large growing digital archive. They are then digitally mixed and combined to form new images.Through compositing the images I noticed two things began to happen. The first was that the signs lost their original function as a sign and began to take on new meanings, depending on how they were placed together. The second was that the original photographs were all of flat 2 dimensional surfaces. This allowed me to create composites that focused more on contrasting textures than on an effort to create a believable photographic space.I once read a book about Max Ernst’s collages. It said something along the lines of, if you shake a collage hard enough, all the pieces will fall out onto the table and return to being individual elements. I am interested in how these works may be the result of both an additive and subtractive process and float between documentation and expression. The finished pieces are output as inkjet prints on a variety of different papers and canvases.

Slides 11-20
The pictures submitted here are from a project titled Ants On The Orange. All of the photographs are taken in Los Angeles and are considered to be loose reflections of the novels of John Fante. More specifically the four novel set, that takes place in Los Angeles, now known as “The Bandini Quartet.”  The most famous of this series is Ask The Dust, written in 1939. The main character in these stories is Arturo Bandini. He lives on Bunker Hill in the 1930’s and has come to Los Angeles to be a writer. The experiences of Arturo Bandini float between the autobiographical accounts of the author and his imagination. The books describe Los Angeles in vivid detail, usually by way of the thoughts and observations, of Bandini as he lives his days. Los angeles is a character in the book as much as any other. It is described as a living breathing thing. When I first read these novels, I missed a part of Los Angeles that I never got to see. I wished that I could have lived on that old hill downtown. However through making these photographs I realized many similarities still exist, even 75 years later. Many of the people and buildings may have disappeared but a certain atmosphere and light remains the same. The only way I can know this is from the works that Fante left behind. It is my hope that these pictures would add to the story of this wonderful and complicated place.



Born 1980 Oil City, Pennsylvania


2003 BFA, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York

2008 MFA University of California at Riverside



UCR MFA, Sweeny Art Gallery, Riverside CA


Effects of Time Mid West Photo Gallery, Columbus, OH



Books and Cookies, Ooga Booga, 356 Mission Rd Half Life, Los Angeles


Männlicher CarcanoPlex Mach 01, Curated by Doug Harvey, POST, Los Angeles


Half Life, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles CA

LA25, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles CA


E.T.Y.O.T.O: Riverside Art Museum, Riverside CA

My Buddy: UCLA Wight Gallery, Los Angeles CA


LA25 Skadden Arps Skadden Office, Los Angeles CA

Southern Exposure: UCLA Kinross Gallery, Los Angeles CA


Annual Honors Show: RIT Spas Gallery, Rochester, NY

Digital Imaging Artists: Gallery R, Rochester, NY


Annual Honors Show RIT Spas Gallery, Rochester, NY

PGSA Faculty Art Show: Cummings Gallery, Erie PA


Annual Honors Show RIT Spas Gallery, Rochester, NY


Oil City Art Show:Transit Gallery, Oil City, PA



University of California Los Angeles, School of Arts and Architecture

Studio Art Photography

2012 – University of Southern California Roski School of  Fine Art

Studio Art Photography

2005-2008 – University of California at Riverside

Digital Imaging Software class-Instructor

Basic Photography-Teachers Assistant

3d Modeling-Teachers Assistant

Electronic Imaging-Teachers Assistant

2002 – Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts / Erie, PA

Assistant Photography Teacher, Residential Advisor

2001 – R.I.T Teaching Assistant Rochester, NY


2008 Sol T Goldstien Award for Photography

2006 UCR Grad Division Art TA of the Year Award for Art70E Digital Imaging

2003 Wallace Library Purchase Award. SPAS Gallery Rochester NY

1998 Accepted to PA Govenors School of Excellence, for the Arts