I recently met Tony Thompson, a young artist based in my hometown of Utica, NY. He did a collaborative project with another artist resident at Sculpture Space, Inc, and I saw their installation at a Works-in-Progress Reception. VERY cool stuff! Tony's work is pretty amazing. It's like a cross between Banksy and Tim Burton. He's an extremely prolific artist and is involved with lots of community arts projects in the greater Utica area. He's also one of the nicest guys I have ever met. No brooding, moody artist -- Tony is a guy that you just feel good being around. Tony also has Cavernous Angioma, a blood vessel problem which happens to have afflicted Tony in the pons area of his brain stem (an extremely important brain area for some basic physiological functions). Most of the time, Tony experiences no symptoms as a result of this condition. But sometimes the blood vessels release blood into his brain tissue. This consequently can lead to temporary paralysis, vision, balance and speech problems. Tony recently had his third bout of bleeding and had to spend some more time in hospital treatment. Despite Tony's condition, he continually produces art and is an inspiration to many of us. He has MANY friends and supporters in the area and we will be having a fund-raiser to help Tony pay for his medical bills. Dan Walter, who works at The Dev (see earlier posts of my recent exhibit there) is an amazing arts supporter in Utica, is the lead organizer (THANKS Dan!). Here is a piece of Tony's work that I bought in the summer (with text that states "It wasn't suppose to happen again") along with a piece I just completed to donate to the fund-raiser.