Running back (#8)
20” x 20”
Acrylic and Oil Pen on Canvas
Super Sport is Franklin Thompson’s first gallery showing following an eight-year hiatus. This collection of new works is loosely based on the circle of life and serves as a tribute to the enduring memory of Thompson’s late father, Charles Franklin Thompson, who suffered a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The artist took on the responsibility of primary caretaker until his father’s transition in 2018, picking up the disease’s first symptom even prior to a diagnosis: hand tremors. In the time since, he’s taken nearly five years to develop his new line of signature motifs including lifelike hand gestures and numbers added to each piece. Reflecting the fullness of a life, such as the one lived by his Pops, giant spheres of color and texture become the focal point throughout the collection.
Super Sport is also an ode to the artist’s childhood, his journey through early adulthood, and the love of cars he shared with his father. The title plays on the fact that the artist himself never actually took part in competitive physical sports, but rather motorsports instead, and the uniting theme that all sports of any kind require a great amount of strength and mental prowess. Thompson aims to showcase both characteristics masterfully in his new collection.
A proud motor enthusiast and collector—including an award-winning ’76 Triumph TR6 and a 100th Anniversary Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide—Charles taught his son early in life to care for the machines as if they had feelings and to always respect the power they possessed. Throughout the new collection, color harmonies inspired by British and American sports cars take center stage alongside identifying numbers as if each work were ready to race toward the finish line. As a final thematic thread, inspired by Charles’s transition and the subsequent, deeply personal purpose for the younger Thompson to return to work, the artist features what he calls “the silver lining.” The hue outlines each sphere in the collection.
In the end, harkening back to his father’s first symptom, Thompson’s painted hands become the most controlled part of the abstract pieces. These hands not only represent one of the most used extremities of the body but reclaim their function as means that hold the power of touch and feeling—of connection between people. After all, what would art be if it did not reach you?