New media artist and educator, Justin Randolph Thompson is Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence and has exhibited and participated in numerous residencies in the US and Europe.
Justin Thompson is the director of the Post-Bac in Studio Art program at SACI. He has lived between Italy and the US since 2001, and has exhibited internationally and participated in numerous residencies in the US and in Europe in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Reina Sofia, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, The Mobile Museum of Art, the American Academy in Rome and more. Thompson is the recipient of numerous awards including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Grant, a Visual Artist Grant from the Fundacion Marcelino Botin, two Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants, A Jerome Fellowship from Franconia Sculpture Park and an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park. His work seeks to deepen the discussions around socio-cultural stratification and hierarchical organization by disrupting the connotations of triumph and outlining a complex, hybrid and non-linear connection to history and sociopolitical discourse.
My approach to teaching is rooted in the disruption of the “default” in artistic production, viewership and the attribution of value. The examination of art as a context fosters students' understanding of personal motivation and the battering of individually constructed artistic boundaries. I insist upon a classroom dynamic that focuses on the establishment of a space for experimentation and failure as a crucial component in developing a sustainable engagement in creation that extends beyond the framework of higher education while planting the seeds for new language that can be drawn upon throughout student’s careers and lives. The development of a capacity to sense layered meaning and the development of personal mythology places students in a position of dexterity while rendering them articulate about their intentions and critical about the presumed role of artists in the “Art World” . Relying upon Italy and study abroad as a departure from comfort and familiarity my students develop strategies for a complex understanding of history and temporality.