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Alan Thornton’s Visuals Make for a Brighter Birmingham

By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times 

Color is an important choice for Thornton, whose work includes paintings and drawings for Black empowerment and pop culture, often using his unique style of portraiture.

“I love colors. Bright colors brighten a lot of people’s moods. I feel like dark colors kind of make a person depressed, and I’m not more of a depressed person…Each time I go out in the world, and I see some very bright color, an idea will come to my mind, and I will apply it either to painting or to paper,” Thornton said.

While some of Thornton’s work contains characters like Batman, Superman, Spongebob, Squidward, Rick and Morty, his portraits of humans reveal his signature. For those paintings, Thornton often provides the outline of a person’s head, upper body and features in black and fills in the skin, eyes and lips with a myriad of bright hues.

Thornton, 32, grew up all around the Birmingham area and graduated from Fairfield High School. His interest in visual art first began through coloring with his father, he said.

“My dad used to color with me all the time, coloring books, comics, draw with me, things like that, and once my father kind of showed me how to color and somewhat taught me how to draw, I took it from there and just went a step further,” Thornton said.

Thornton’s skill today is a result of the work he’s put in since his childhood, he said. Today, he wants his art to “brighten up the world.”

“Instead of people having a bad day or a messed-up day, I can stay here, and I can put my artwork on social media, or I could present it to them in person, and instead of them having a bad day about whatever it is that they’re dealing with,” Thornton said, “it could change their whole mood to a better mood.”



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