Memphis artist uses talent to send a strong message


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mid-South artist is using his talent to send a powerful message as people continue to hold protests against the death of George Floyd and police brutality.

“All these conversations that are going on, it just feels a little differently this time,” Artist Craig Thompson said. “Like, hopefully, there’s some real movement.”

Thompson has been doing artwork in downtown Memphis for about 20 years.

He used a simple flick of the wrist and some chalk in his most recent creation on South Main Street: a black fist with the words ‘Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly’ wrapped around the wrist.

“I think this is just a call to everybody to keep these three things in mind as we move forward and we try to listen to each other and try to come to a resolution,” Thompson said.

Due to underlying health issues, Thompson is not able to join the peaceful protests as they march through the streets so he decided to let his art send the message for him.

“That’s what it’s all about. Having those conversations with folks that don’t look like you and finding some common ground. I had a lot of people come by just saying thanks,” Thompson said.

In recent months, he’s used his platform to highlight different issues in the community.

In Bartlett, he drew a 50 foot version of Toy Story’s Slinky Dog to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thompson says he wants his latest piece to spark dialogues about race, equality and peace.

“Art can move people,” Thompson said. “It can start conversations. It’s easier to do that through the art versus a direct conversation. We can talk about this piece and what it means to you and how it affects you.”


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