Tommy Thompson has recorded for posterity the main streets of small town America. The owner of Village Prints of Florence, Alabama, has more than 35 years’ experience in art, photography, printing, and marketing. The native Mississippian studied art at Mississippi State University, where he also supervised the art and photography division of the Mississippi Agricultural Experiment Station. Thompson began his unique business in 1984, and since that time he and his daughters Michelle and Melanie have drawn more than 300 towns in 12 states across the South. Struck by the pride of older Americans in the heritage of their towns, Thompson has transformed glimpses of the past found in old, faded photographs and memories into composite drawings. You may also see oil paintings by Tommy by clicking on the image:
Michelle Thompson Rideout is one of the South’s most prolific artists in capturing small town Americana. Rideout’s interest in art was sparked while she was a small child looking over her father’s shoulder as he was drawing. She graduated from the University of North Alabama with a bachelor of science degree in graphic design. Soon afterwards she began working with her father Tommy Thompson, also known for his sketches of Southern towns. Rideout’s composite pencil drawings reveal a meticulous attention to detail, which gives a delicate quality to the overall print. Her prints have often been used for fund-raisers, raising money around the country and receiving greater prominence through features in national magazines. Rideout has also done drawings of the homes of record producer Sam Phillips and late author Alex Haley. Her work has also been featured in the National Civitan Magazine. Today this artist has turned to creating landscapes and portraits in pastel and oil.
Melanie Thompson Gentle joined the Village Prints team while bringing up her two daughters and added enthusiasm, creativity, and a desire for perfection to the Village Prints mix. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in marketing from the University of North Alabama, Gentle worked in the retail sales arena for a few years. While working for Village Prints, she produced several composite drawings of Southern towns. Today Gentle serves her community as a substitute school teacher.