I don't remember a time that I didn't draw; I began drawing "seriously" in High School and intended to become a Technical Illustrator. Lack of planning and foresight led me to a degree in Architecture, instead of an education in Art. Further distractions, such as "lack of work" led me to an eight-year career in construction; further distractions, such as "lack of work" led me to a career with the City of Portland as a Building Plans Examiner, from which I 'retired' with a medical layoff in 1998. But the dream never died... I've been a free-lance commercial artist and designer for over 30 years. During my college years I exhibited my artwork in a number of non-juried shows, but found little time for "serious" illustration until 1988, when a ruptured appendix and a brush with death caused me to re-evaluate my goals and priorities. I realized that my future wasn't as predictable as it appeared; and that God has given me a talent He intended to be used for the benefit of others. I then decided it was time to get "serious" about my career as an illustrator.
My 'body of work' is fairly eclectic in its nature, and isn't specifically geared toward one type of illustration, however, all of my illustrations are realistically-styled. My preferred media is digitally-colored graphite. I also use colored pencil, ink, watercolor, acrylic and airbrush as the need arises.
As of this writing, I’ve created five children’s books, and numerous illustrations for a variety of clients; including Glenndoman Korea, Scholastic Inc. and the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Over the years I have created a large number of wildlife drawings and a numerous portraits. I also create Architectural and Technical illustrations. I teach art classes for children on an irregular basis; and speak to a variety of groups on a variety of topics related to illustration and on Building Code related subject matter. I also work as an 'outsourcing service provider' for various Internet-based graphic arts and architectural production companies.
Yellowstone Park Foundation
Silver Moon Press
New Canaan Publishing
Portland State University
Lewis & Clark College
Bonneville Power Administration
Housing Authority of Portland
Czopek & Erdenberger
Dennis Mitchell Thompson,Architect
Bachelor of Architecture, University of Oregon, 1975
CEO, Darrowby House Construction & Design, 1979-1983
Plans Examiner II, City of Portland Bureau of Buildings, 1984-1998
MJ Arts, Code Consulting & Illustration, 1998-present
Oregon-Licensed Plan Reviewer and Structural Inspector, 1984-present
ICC-Certified Plans Examiner and Structural Inspector, 2000-present
GQI-General Post-Earthquake Inspector, 2007
During my 14 years with the Bureau of Buildings in Portland, Oregon, I had the responsibility for the review of a large variety of residential and commercial building projects. For nine years I reviewed 90% of the residential structures built in the City of Portland; during my final 5 years with the Bureau of Buildings I specialized in the review of 5+ story residential/commercial development projects.
I was the principal author of Portland's Rowhouse construction Policies; and was a member of the Rowhouse Task Force for the State of Oregon Building Codes Division. The State of Oregon has since adopted these Policies for Rowhouse construction statewide. I was a contributor toward the City's 5-story, wood-framed construction Ordinance; the City of Portland’s ‘Fire-Resistive Wood-Frame Construction’ Code Guide and developed the policies regarding Portland's Floating Structures Ordinance. Along with my plan review responsibilities I trained Bureau of Buildings staff for becoming certified as residential plans examiners; and authored a number of Code Interpretation training manuals.
In the Fall of 2000 MJ Arts was certified as a licensed Plan Review Business. As a Building Code consultant I work primarily with the architectural community, providing plan review, Code Interpretation and training services. Among my Building Code instruction clients are the Portland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects; and the Door & Hardware Institute of Oregon. I publish a newsletter regarding the Building Code and its interpretation; and am a member of the Oregon Building Officials Association and the International Codes Council.
Awards and Accolades
WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2009 -- MJ Arts has been selected for the 2009 Best of Portland Award in the Commercial Art & Illustration category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).
In 2009, two of my works, a graphite family study and an acrylic triptych on the Book of Esther, were added to the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, Texas, for their permanent collection.