Miles Thompson is one of my favorite artists. His sense and use of color and shapes is reminiscent of another favorite of mine, Mary Blair. This piece is titled Wahahine, and it’s a monster at 4′ x 2′. It was part of the recent Tiki Art Now III show at Roq la Rue in Seattle, and it’s sold. In its very shrunken form here, you’re missing all kinds of Milesy goodness — click on it to see it a bit bigger. Go on, do it. I haven’t seen this one in person, but I’m sure it’s breathtaking — the color and detail on Miles’ stuff never really comes through unless you’re seeing it in person.
At first glance, Miles’ pieces can seem simple, even cartoonish (he does have a background in animation, after all), but as any animation fiend will tell you, there can be a lot buried beneath the surface. Miles’ compositions look casual, but their is a lot of intent in each one, and stories to be found in them. In one of Miles’ earlier tiki pieces, he painted a very simple nighttime skyline of Waikiki using just a few strokes of paint — and it instantly transported me to the Waikiki nights I knew as a child many, many years go.
Miles is also one of my favorite people — when I was new to Los Angeles, Miles and his friends were one of the very first groups to take me in as one of their own, which was an incredible stroke of luck for me. Not only did it open up all sorts of fascinating and wonderful things to me (like getting to meet and sit for the most astounding artists, like Michael Hussar and Kevin Llewellyn, and of course Miles himself), but his friendship was a much needed rudder for me as I figured my new life out. Whether it was over instant messenger or over drinks at Tiki-Ti (always a Chi-Chi for Miles, and on the rocks, ever since the Great Tiki-Ti Power Outage of Ought-Four), Miles has always been there for me, with an ear, a shoulder, and wise, wise words.
To see more of Miles’ work, visit his blog, or his website, or his MySpace page. At the moment, Miles has a photo atop his blog of some mysterious woman with one of his tank tops stretched across her tatas (or, as Miles insists, her “beautiful bosom”). They sure look familiar…