What's the deal with Graeme Thompson and Scrabble, anyway?
Graeme Thompson is self-taught conceptual artist from Western Southland, who eventually moved to Taranaki in late 2016.
His major Art influences are: Dada, Surrealism, and Absurdist drama; Jungian psychology, alchemical symbolism, Hieronymous Bosch; Outsider art;
and science fiction magazine art and illustrations.
Graeme's Scrabble art derives from his personal manifesto that Art and Language cannot completely and accurately reproduce an artist's experience of creating art.
Graeme has probably bought over 400 Scrabble sets since 2008. Artists who use Scrabble tiles in their works tend to use them to make words or as decorative highlights.
Graeme uses Scrabble tiles as a medium.
Viewers, used to playing Scrabble, come to Graeme's Scrabble art with expecting a grid structure of tiles with empty gaps; intentional meaning and placement;
assigned values for words and tiles; and one uniform set of tiles.
Graeme's Scrabble panels completely covered in tiles with no grid structure or gaps, and instead of readily identifiable words (If he does include any words at all), they find letter tiles
are sideways, upside-down, or back-to-front tiles, all with different materials, fonts, dimensions, colours, and sometimes they are not even Scrabble tiles, but from other word games.
In his Words Don't Come Easy series, he deliberately avoids making any words.
In the Portrait series, all have a border of words of physical features we use to make sense of portraits, just as portraits are simply a layer of paint on a canvas.
In the Panorama works, wide landscape panels, completely covered randomly place tiles, are bisected by a single horizontal line of repetitions of the word "Horizon".