July, 9, 2016 and I’m in Gananoque, Ontario performing my one-man show, “Assassinating Thomson” at the 1000 Islands Playhouse. In the show, I paint a portrait of the entire audience while I tell the story of how I came to be a visually-impaired Visual Artist and tie-in the mystery of “who killed Tom Thomson”…
99 Years Ago yesterday Tom Thomson disappeared at Canoe Lake, in Algonquin Park, Ontario. His body was found 8 days later floating in the water.
The mystery surrounding Thomson’s death has captured the imagination of people across the world. Theories abound.
There’s a ghost story involved…
Oh boy… It’s a good time.
There is an online community of people posting as characters from the story - Thomson himself has a twitter page, Thomson’s girlfriend (Winnie Trainor), and several of the accused have profiles… it’s kinda’ awesome, really.
I’ve met “Tom” and last night I met “Winnie” and “Shannon”.
I love doing the show as it allows me to do some of my favourite things in the world: painting, portraiture, connecting with new people, and telling stories.
I ask the audience to join me onstage after the show to look at the portrait I paint from my point of view… It is such a joy to chat with folks. One of the best parts of the show, really….
I’ve met visually impaired people for whom my personal story is foremost, and artists who relate to the practice, critics who “don’t get it”, and historians who love the mystery.
One thing has become shockingly apparent while doing this run:
If you truly want to wipe a person from history, stop telling their story….
Thomson’s story goes on.
The story leads to the artist, which leads to the art, and the art can transport us.
It certainly did for me.
I’m here in Gananoque until the 17, and then I head to Prince Edward County to do the show three times there.