PROVO — They say those who can’t do, teach, but in the case of this local artist, he has managed to be successful at both.
Roland Thompson considers himself a “full-time creative person” who uses his creativity to succeed as an artist, professor of drawing, painting and art foundations at BYU and UVU, husband and father.
“This may sound funny but it is more like the medium chose me,” Thompson said. “I don't remember when I wasn't obsessed with paint. I like the color, the texture, the way it smells, the transparency, the opacity, the pigment, the different binders. Yes, I really like paint.”
The paint, it seems, speaks to him in a way nothing else can. Thompson said that music competes with his thought process. Bands such as TV on the Radio, MGMT and Animal Collective inspire him, but he leaves the music off in the studio.
“I need to hear a voice telling a story that I already know and don't have to follow closely,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s abstract paintings create an aesthetic experience with emotional and cognitive connections. He works to create a relationship between color, shape and implied movement that causes the brain to consider connections — between people, ideas, places and things across time and space.
“I am always most proud of my recent work, probably because it is a completion or manifestation of my most current thinking,” Thompson said.
As a teen, Thompson always had a passion for painting. After finishing a large abstract collage at 18, he had the realization: “I really could be an artist.”
He studied at BYU with the intention of bettering his painting skills. He said at that point he didn’t have a career plan, just a desire to learn from the great professors. He went on to receive an MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. But he and his young family came back.
“Utah actually has a vibrant art scene,” Thompson said. “Student artists and professional artists along the Wasatch Front challenge and inspire me to keep developing as a person and artist.”
His favorite venues are Central Utah Art Center and Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.
Thompson’s work can be seen on display through the end of the week at A Gallery in Salt Lake, or you can check out his website for more of his paintings.
Amanda is a writer and pop culture fanatic who studied journalism at BYU. She has written for a candy store, a US Senator, Deseret News, an art museum, Entertainment Weekly magazine, a beauty company, KSL and several artists and musicians. Find her on Twitter @amandataylor88.