With an interest in art that had its genesis prior to her conscious memory, art teacher Laquita Thomson continues to refine her craft. “It has always seemed natural to me to draw,” she says. “My mother has one of my earliest works. It is a drawing of a chicken pecking, done when I was three years old.”
That childhood interest eventually led to a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mississippi University for Women and a Master of Fine Arts from Auburn University. She also holds an M.A. in education and an additional M.A. Although she says she can do “practically anything,” Thomson’s degrees are in painting and printmaking. At FHU she teaches foundational courses, including Three-D Design, where she incorporates sculpture and printmaking.
A member of the FHU faculty since 2006, Thomson has been immersed in a “big project” that began in 2000. Inspired by Christo’s installations which often involved wrapping large objects in cloth, she decided she could combine her interests in fabric and photography by embarking on a journey to photograph tourist shots but with the addition of fabric. Over the next ten years, she developed a portfolio that includes a photograph representing each of the fifty states in the Union.
She chose something in the state to represent it, determined a way to work one of her 65 pieces of tulle into it, and then photographed it. For example, South Carolina is represented by a blooming mimosa tree enhanced with pink tulle. Tennessee’s photograph is of an East Tennessee waterfall near Dayton taken in autumn. The Mississippi shot features a cluster of bright orange trumpet flowers and vines against an old barn. The fabric is also bright orange. This photograph
(available below) was taken near her aunt’s house in Farmington, Miss.
In 2009, Thomson completed the photographs and spent the next year editing the 6,000 shots and printing those that made the cut. The 20” x 30” prints are photographs “done with a painting sensibility,” she says.
The project, which she calls “almost an obsession,” resulted in an unexpected side benefit. “It became a family deal,” she said. “My sons would travel with me in the summers as we looked for the perfect shot. My mother sometimes would go along,” she said.
The “Fabric in Landscape” portfolio has been shown at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Mobile Museum of Art, the Memphis Botanic Garden, as well as other places. Her summer plans include provoking the interest of other galleries.
And then? Well, the project has actually grown larger. She also has photographs of five continents. Only South America and Antarctic remain on her go-to list.
"Trumpet Flower from Mississippi"