Artist Feature – Kenson Thompson


“Painting,” Kenson Thompson said, “takes me out of my mind.” In that state, Thompson said, events no longer “create” reality.

“Awareness is the creator,” said Thompson, who works in oils and mixed media.

“My artwork is the reflection of my journey through life with all its experiences and influences,” she said. “Layers of paint and mixed media create a history — in time to be revealed and discovered through mistakes, surprises and mysteries.”

Thompson, who has had multiple solo and group exhibitions in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, and her work included in a number collections, is an artist who also calls Transylvania County home. Thompson grew up outside Macon, Ga., and became interested in art when she was 6 or 7 years old.

“I can remember having glue and paper, beads drawing with water on the trampoline, making pine straw forts, collecting rocks in the little creek, changing the layout of my Hot Wheels collection,” she said.

Today, Thompson said that often what she sees in her work is a “surprise” to her, “offering inspiration to dig deep and uncover the gifts if noticed.”

“Perhaps the emotional connection many viewers experience when looking at my work is made possible by some imaginative reality of personal stories and moments,” she said. Among the artists who inspire her and have an influence on her work, she points to Jean Michael Basquiat, Walter Anderson, Robert Henri, Matisse, Joan Mitchell and Lee Krasner.

When not painting, Thompson likes to hike and bike, travel, read, cook, visit friends, garden and get in the water.

She came to Brevard from Atlanta in 1999 and stayed until 2007, before moving back to Atlanta for a couple of years and then returned to the mountains.

She’s recently built a home/studio. “I live in North Carolina surrounded by the natural world and am involved in a generous reflective environment,” she said. “Southern music, writing and poetry influence my process tremendously.

Growing up in the South and raising two daughters — and now three grandchildren — has lent itself to magical explorations of this land, as well as the personal dynamics that friends and family offer.” For more information on Thompson, visit her website at


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