The thrill of recognition immediately classifies the exclamation because the drawing that has provoked the enthusiastic response often refers to an adolescent or even childhood interest. It may be a reaction to the pleasure derived from a yellow rubber duck, the archetypal bath toy. Then, growing older, the transference to plastic soldiers, superheroes or warriors was a means for children to enter into, and control, a series of relationships that were seated in the pretend personalities of the toys. Spy Versus Spy hits at the heartstrings of those who spent time with the characters in Mad Magazine, one of the first comic magazines to reach above the fantasy level of cute cartoons or superheroes and make forays into socio-political opinions. Mad claimed a readership that crossed from juvenile rebellion into a more adult coming of age. The black spy and white spy were loved, almost as much as the stars of the silver screen. So was Rat Fink.
The subject matter in Jeffrey Thompson's work is crucial and yet essentially, the subject is just a toy or character that made it to the top with enough aura (and financial backing) to convince the populace to embrace these icons of their formative years. Thompson, by spending careful, talented and trained time rendering the characters, grants to them a span of concerned attention and also raises them to the higher aesthetical realm of Fine Arts. Their significance is acknowledged.
Children like to draw from cartoons and adolescents from super heroes. The ability to recreate them is a discernible power, admired by their peers. Jeffrey Thompson has elevated the subject. He has dressed the original cartoons in an aesthetic that denotes maturity, elevates nostalgic pop characters to the sophisticated echelons of a high culture and by doing so with a classy clean style; he enables a response. He allows a whole new level of interaction on the part of the viewer - that of a connoisseur, one who understands the details, or principles and is competent to act as a critical judge in the current 'play'.
Copyright © 2007, Julie Oakes