James "Son Ford" Thomas
A blues musician and visual artist, James “Son Ford” Thomas made his portrait-like studies from unfired clay that he dug from various sites near his home, including the Mississippi River riverbed. Often adding wax or hair grease to stop the raw clay from cracking, the artist would sometimes bake his pieces in a fire before adding paint and found objects, such as the cigarette included here. Thomas, who also worked as gravedigger, saw his pieces as personal reflections on the people he knew in his community, as well as a commentary on the inevitability that “we all end up in the clay.”
Unfired clay, fiber (artificial hair), paper, tobacco (cigarette), glass
(marbles), metal - iron alloy (pin) and white metal? (coin)
overall: 8 1/2 × 7 1/4 × 10 3/4 in., 12 lb. (21.6 × 18.4 × 27.3 cm, 5.44kg) (show scale)
James Thomas written into the back of the bust in the leather hard
clay - after painting
This item is not on view
Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection, 2018
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James "Son Ford" Thomas (American, 1926-1993). Untitled, 1987. Unfired clay, fiber (artificial hair), paper, tobacco (cigarette), glass
(marbles), metal - iron alloy (pin) and white metal? (coin), overall: 8 1/2 × 7 1/4 × 10 3/4 in., 12 lb. (21.6 × 18.4 × 27.3 cm, 5.44kg). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection, 2018, 2018.28.6. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , CUR.2018.28.6.jpg)
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