Artist Jimmy Thompson is the mind behind City Painting Group. Because of his speciality in art depicting the history of our city, he is this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE. Read his story below.
“I was born in Wilmington but grew up in a big family. I lived in Marshallton during the 70’s. After graduating from St. Marks in ‘85, I’ve pretty much been back in the city since.
I’m the proud father of 2 magnificent young men. Both live here in Wilmington and are involved in a few of the positive projects going on Downtown. My younger son likes photography, my older boy is a part of Artist Ave Station.
I recently got engaged to my girlfriend Regina- a beautiful nurse who is also my business partner and talent with City Painting Group.
I call myself the official ambassador of Wilmington; I’m all over. I’m always riding around looking for something to paint or see! I used to paint here and there for 30 years; I’ve done portraits of houses as a gift, or when my brother got married. I guess you could say I’ve been seriously painting for 5 years though. Gina (my fiance) came up with the name, since there’s a BPG (Buccini-Pollin Group) she named it CPG (City Painting Group)! Everything I paint is in the city. It’s not just me though. Regina and my 2 sons and dad are a part of the effort too.
I’ve always liked to snap pictures. I’ve been doing that for over 20 years. Then I take the photo and put it on canvas. I love painting old photos because people get nostalgic. Many of my paintings are of ghost structures, businesses, and buildings that don’t exist now, or are renovated.
For me the paintings are passing down history. People are remembering the city 20-30 years ago, and then think about 20-30 years from now how it’ll change. The skill I got from my dad, who used to paint windows on Market Street. Back in the 40’s and 50’s they would have students from Wilmington High School go down and paint business windows and he was a part of that, but I am self taught.
With art you have to know your main target crowd. Mine is the older crowd that was born and raised here in the city. Places like Forty Acres, Little Italy, and Downtown.
I work full time at UPS and with the pandemic we are so busy that I have to push painting on the weekends. I’ve painted over 100 pieces and sold a few dozen. I’m not pushy, if people want to buy it then sure. I’m always looking to sell art, but when I retire I’ll open up a gallery. I don’t wanna do it half ass, I wanna do it right.
I continue to choose Wilmington because you grow where you’re planted and it’s what I know.
If you take care of just a small area: your own home, your own block that turns into neighbors that take care of eachother. That way the city will take care of itself.”