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Andrew K. Thompson | Photographic Artist

I distrust perfection, and I believe photography is poisonous. My work critiques the toxicity of the medium with a dash of absurdity to create images and objects that reflect the tumultuous world around me.


Nothing is neutral, including the camera or photograph. They wield the bias of their user. The images and objects I make bring this idea into focus. I want the viewer to see the noxious means required to make a photograph.


A potpourri of artists has influenced and inspired me, but I must begin with Doug and Mike Starn and the photographs of German painter Sigmar Polke. They exposed me to a different way of using light-sensitive materials. They were not bound to the modernist thinking that dominated photography in the early 1990s when I was a young student. Through my studies, I would later draw inspiration from Betty Hahn, Thomas Barrow, and Lewis Baltz, along with Richard Tuttle, the monochromes of David Benjamin Sherry, and the mischievousness of Reed Ghazala.


I have developed a unique practice and process that begins with a “what if” question. “What if I make a camera-shaped ice cube out of Caffenol and melt it on black and white paper?” This question started my @MeltingCameras series. From there, I allow the research, play, and the discovery process to take over. 


I often have a vision of California burning. These visions were the inspiration for my Chemical Landscapes portfolio. I ask myself why this became a recurring thought. I know it comes from the anxieties surrounding the ecological demise that I've witnessed throughout my life. In response to this inquiry, I sew onto analog color prints to make marks across their surface. Later they are doused with bleach causing light-sensitive silver crystals to slide across the photographic surface. In essence, I do to these pictures what humankind is doing to the planet.


My hands are a large part of my process. I believe it is important to incorporate hand-made elements into my work because I view photography as a tool, and I believe the tool doesn’t build a house; the hand that wields the tool does. I create my artwork by hand and often with analog photographic methods, but I use digital means periodically or have objects fabricated in various materials. 

I am interested in “hacking,” “circuit bending,” and poking fun at the systems that make up photography. For me, destructing is a creative act, and “re-wiring” the circuits of light-sensitive materials is the ideal medium for me to communicate.


Solo Exhibitions

2022  Toxic Exposure: Violence Upon the Land and Image, All Eyes Gallery, San Bernardino

2021  ART @ ONT, Ontario Airport Terminal 4, Chaffey Community Museum of Art

2017  Automatic Midnight, C.A.C.t.T.U.S., Long Beach, CA

          Cut, Punctured, Manipulated, SRO Photo Gallery, Lubbock, TX

2015  Light Sensitive, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art, San Bernardino, CA

Group Exhibitions

2023  Life Logistic, The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, Riverside, CA

          Reunion, Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

2022  AIPAD Photography Show, Klotz Gallery, New York, NY

2021  Art in the Plague Year, Online Exhibition, California Museum of Photography, Riverside, 

          CA (curated by Douglas McCulloh, Nikolay Maslov, and Rita Sobreiro Souther)

2019  Mirror, Mirror, California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA (curated by Douglas McCulloh)

          In the Sunshine of Neglect: Defining Photographs and Radical Experiments in Inland 

          Southern California, 1950 to the Present, California Museum of Photography, Riverside, 

          CA (curated by Douglas McCulloh)

2018  Transition Zone, Chaffey Community Museum of Art, Ontario, CA (curated by Sant Khalsa) 

          Center Forward 2018, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO (curated by Kris                    Graves and Hamidah Glasgow)

          FOCUS photo L.A., Pop-up Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (Juried by Jo Ann Callis, Paris

          Chong, and Rachel Peart)

2017  Grey is the Color of Theory, Clara & Allen Gresham Art Gallery at San Bernardino

          Valley College, CA (two-person show with Sapira Cheuk)

          TRANS, SPACE Gallery – Claremont, CA (two-person show with Michelle Cade. Curated by                      Thomas McGovern)

          Desert Waters, Marks Art Center, Palm Desert, CA (curated by Sant Khalsa)

2016  Land of the Smokes: Landscapes and Los Angeles, Last Projects, Los Angeles, CA

          (curated by Mario Vasquez)

          Hot Topic: A Photographic Response to Climate Change, Gallery 1/1, Seattle, WA (curated by                  Dan Shepherd)

          Woven, Sturt Haaga Gallery at the Descanso Gardens, La Cañada Flintridge, CA (curated by                  John David O'Brien)

2015  FRAGMENT, New Wight Gallery UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (curated by Paul Sepuya, Martyna                    Szczesna, and Kevin Buzzell)

          ABSTRACT, Filter Photo Festival, Filter Space, Chicago, IL (curated by Debora Klomp Ching)

          The Altered Landscape, FOTOSEPTIEMBRE, Clamp Light Artist Studio & Gallery, San Antonio, TX            (curated by Tom Turner) 

          Sampled, Offramp Gallery, Pasadena, CA (curated by Anita Bunn)

2014  Being Here and There, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA (curated by Sant                  Khalsa)

2013  Video Night, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA

Professional Affiliations

2023 - Present: Kipaipai Fellow

2018 - Present: The Little Gallery of San Bernardino, Co-Founder

2015 - Present: Society for Photographic Education (S.P.E.)

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