Aug 062015

Sadly, we currently know relatively little about the artist John Thompson, who lived in Jocotepec during the 1960s and 1970s, and considered himself a painter of the Miro school.

He was a close friend of two long-time Jocotepec residents: photographer John Frost and his wife, the author Joan Van Every Frost. Thompson also knew Tom Brudenell, who lived in Jocotepec 1968-1970, and Peter Paul Huf and his wife Eunice (Hunt) Huf when they lived in Ajijic from 1967 to 1972.

Interviewed a decade ago, the Frosts recalled that John Thompson was considered the painter when they first arrived in 1966. According to John Frost, Thompson had been in the defense industry in southern California prior to moving to Jocotepec. He had separated from his wife and was living with his German girlfriend, Gertha, opposite the historic La Quinta Inn (i.e. where the Santander-Serfin bank is located today).

Quoting John Frost, the couple were “pillars of the underground community.” Thompson was slight of build, wore a full red beard, dressed in khaki, and his menu was structured around a typical Mexican working man’s diet. Drink in hand, he would rail at length against the evils of plastics and the modern world. The focal point for Jocotepec social life at the time was Ramon’s bar on the north side of the plaza.

Tom Brudenell, who met Thompson in the late 1960s and remembers him as living in a converted school bus at some point, remembers his oil paintings as tending to be dark and “muddy”. Brudenell also recalled that Thompson’s local artistic patron had been Marian Powell.

As for Thompson’s art, Joan Frost, in Ajijic, 500 years of adventures (Thomas Paine Chapter NSDAR, 2011), wrote that Thompson, “promoted himself as a painter of the Miro school. His works were colorful with lots of mysterious figures floating about in the air above towns like Joco.”

Thompson left Jocotepec in about 1980 to move to the then Yugoslavia (now Croatia), where he lived on the coast. He later visited Peter Paul Huf and his wife, Eunice Hunt, after they had settled in their current  home in southern Germany.

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.

 Posted by at 6:47 am  Tagged with:

  2 Responses to “John Thompson, the mystery Miro-style painter who lived in Jocotepec in the 1960s”

  1. Wow, never saw this site; came across it accidentally while lookin up my old friend, Helmut Wellenhofer.
    I was John Thompson’s wife from 1968 to 1984 when we separated. Met in Mexico, lived in the former Yugoslavia for 5 years, on a small motor/sailor in the the Med. for almost another 5, then 5 more in France before returning stateside. John passed away in 1989 in the Southern California desert.
    If you would like this biography fleshed out, I am available for an interview anytime.
    Gayle Thompson

    • Wow!!! That’s fantastic. I’m responding properly via email. Sorry to learn that John passed away but eager to learn more about his life and work. TB.

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