By Kate Luce
Working behind the scenes might not be as glamorous as being a star, but for John Enrique Thompson, visiting lecturer of fine arts, it made his summer one to remember.
Thompson was a part of the “Girls of Summer,” a film directed by John Hancock. Hancock is known for his work in the area. His most known for his 1989 film, “Prancer,” which was filmed in the La Porte area.
“Girls of Summer” is about a female country group trying to make it in the music industry.
“One of my former students from another school, reached out to me and talked to me about it, and the next thing you know I was in,” Thompson said.
After receiving an offer to come work on the movie, Thompson has been hard at work with graphic design work and working within a committee, something that he is not very used to.
“I was mainly working on the logos. It’s really painful sometimes to work with committees. It was not the logo I preferred, but they were happy with it,” Thompson said.
Creating the logo and making signs was a challenging task for Thompson. He worked in a hot, humid barn using vinyl to make the signs. The vinyl would often not stick to the surface because of the conditions. Although it was a tedious process, he made it work.
This is not the first time Thompson was a part of a movie. He worked on a smaller, 30-minute film, “Nightmare on Oak Street,” which was filmed in Three Oaks, Mich.
“They asked me if I could do character design and a few fliers. Other than that, I have never done anything this big,” Thompson said.
Broadening his horizons and staying a part of the community are things he pushes himself to do. Before the first summer semester started, Thompson finished a novel which has since been published. He is currently working on another novel.
“I like the process. I use it to relax. I like to say that in the past, I would use art to relax, but now that I do it so much, and now writing is a way to relax,” Thompson said.
Combining his visual art and writing skills, he is also working on a “graphic novel format true crime story” depicting the story of Belle Gunness, an infamous 1880s serial killer from the local area. The novel has two-year’s worth of thorough research and work put into it, and Thompson is making it into the style of a 1920s comic.
Although this is not his first novel, it has been challenging since “the Gunness story” has so many interpretations to it.
“The story has been elaborated on and exaggerated, finding the real story is hard, so I did my own interpretation on it,” Thompson said.
Thompson is hosting a museum talk at the Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart, In. On August 30, at 12:00 PM, he will speak about his work and experience with comics and the industry.
As the summer comes to a close, there is one thing for sure: Thompson will continuously keep busy with his craft.