Michael ThompsonMichael Thompson (1958-2016), born in Kingston, Jamaica, and now lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, United States. He studied graphic design at The Jamaica School of Art, now the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston. Michael passed away on August 15, 2016.

Themes of the anti-apartheid movement and the struggles in Latin America were evident in his earlier designs, drawings and paintings (1970s – 80s). During that period, he won two successive poster competitions, which gave him the opportunity to participate, with the Jamaican delegation, in the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana, Cuba in 1978, and in Moscow in 1985. He describes his visit to Cuba as “an amazing experience and a tremendous opportunity.” There, he was introduced to the Cuban poster designs created by ICAIC, (Cuban Film Institute) OSPAAAL, (Organization for Solidarity with the People of Africa, Asia, and Latin America), and Casa de Las Américas. Michael’s visit to Cuba, and his exposure to Cuban posters created by these organizations greatly inspired his poster design aesthetics.

Michael uses his art effectively with social media to stimulate awareness globally, and to spark conversation about many social and political issues. He uses poster art to express solidarity or protest issues that he feels passionate about: war, global poverty, racism, peace, justice, “One Love,” and the environment. He also designs posters celebrating and promoting his historical roots and cultural Jamaican heritage, such as Jamaica’s popular music, Reggae

Michael’s creative expressions are influenced strongly by Jamaica’s popular music and culture, primarily from the golden period of the 1960’s through 1980s. His Reggae poster project on Flickr is an effort to reawaken a sense of greatness and celebration of one of the world great music; the richness of this genre being a deep source of inspiration for his art. Over the years, he has designed numerous posters covering Ska, Rocksteady, Dub, Roots Reggae and Rocksteady captured with an exuberant and colorful style. Michael’s posters have drawn much international attention and have been exhibited in International exhibitions. His Reggae posters are now on tour in Europe with the Reggae Movement Exhibition.

This contest is dedicated to all the pioneers, great musicians and institutions that created this wonderful music.

Michael important posters can be seen on his official website www.freestylee.NET or by visiting his Flickr profile FREESTYLEE: Artist Without Borders – http://www.flickr.com/photos/freestylee
Personal Facebook : facebook.com/mthompson.freestylee

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