Dominique Thompson drawn to art
Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
Graphic design is a creative process that reaches into everything we do these days - from websites to application interfaces, to product packaging, the talented hand of the graphic designer is seen everywhere.
For 25-year-old Dominique Thompson, her skills have been innate since birth and over the years have been mastered through diverse educational and economic opportunities. She was drawn initially to art from as early as four years old when she began attending and participating in different programmes at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
“I have always been interested in art and I felt more drawn to it when I was a little girl. I would draw mostly everything instead of writing and these would include my family members and still-life compositions,” Thompson said.
“I was also a Disney enthusiast and I watched most of the motion pictures. I also drew most of the characters from the Lion King, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, and so many others,” she added.
So much was her passion for the world of art that she also studied Visual Arts at Ardenne High School, where she received a grade one in her external sitting at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) level. ‘The People Who Came’ was one of the pieces from her School Based Assessment (SBA) that represented Jamaica’s diverse culture and one she fondly remembers.
“The piece represented all of Jamaica’s culture including indigenous Caribbean people, European, Asian, and other cultures present here. I used a girl and other images to represent our culture,” Thompson said.
With a firm background in art from her sessions at the Edna Manley College, Thompson decided to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media and Communications from the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
“I was at Edna Manley practically every summer. I did music, piano, painting, sculpting, photography, dance, and drama, so outside of art itself, I was well rounded. It was a relaxed environment that enabled me to develop my creativity. I was able to learn from others and develop my own style and artistic expression,” she said.
Thompson loves to paint murals, and does so in the comfort of her home and likes to create drawings of her friends. Recently, at the 18th staging of the Sagicor Sigma Run, which was held under the theme: ‘Run for the fun, Donate for the cause’ Thompson created the murals that were visible on both sides of Knutsford Boulevard.
“I wanted more than just to follow the theme, but to represent the faces of the children who were to benefit from the cause. We created large sketches and stencils and when the road closed at 5 p.m. the day before, we finished painting at 3 a.m.,” Thompson said.
Colours, she said, help to evoke feelings from people and often affect them. “We used more bright colours and then added paint that would dry on asphalt to look like chalk.”
Thompson indicated her love for working with the human form and seeing the body in different ways and then creating images based on people’s personality. “I like to look at people’s emotion and how they react to their environment. I get a feeling of who they are when I am drawing them in an environment that would reflect their personality,” she said.
The industry-standard applications for graphic design are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. While both applications are designed to be easy to use, they are very feature rich and require focused effort to master them.
At first, Thompson was opposed to using PhotoShop and not painting on canvas, but by sixth form at Ardenne, she realised it was similar and also easier to adjust any mistakes as it was an electronic medium.
“It's not just to become an expert in programmes like PhotoShop and Illustrator, but to learn how to use these valuable tools in conjunction with developing a marketable design sense,” Thompson said.
Thompson, who is employed to the Sagicor Group as a graphic designer is responsible for creating images for promotion of the Sagicor brands.