Southern-born artist Tracie Thornton, who works under the name Thorn, is multi-faceted; using jewelry design, printmaking, performance, bookbinding, origami, sculpture, and collage as her media. She has a distinctive interest in recycling discarded items and believes strongly giving something a second life. The elements that Thornton uses in her work have been collected from all over. It may be something found in a market in Benin, on a city sidewalk, or something from everyday life that provide the components to complete a piece.
Tracie's summers spent traveling the eastern coast of the U.S. with her family and study abroad in Italy during college rank high on her list of artistic inspirations, but it is her time spent in the Peace Corps that moved her to think more freely and organically about her work.
Tracie found treasures in the markets in West and Central Africa where she completed her Peace Corps service. She felt compelled to collect beads and fabrics, integral to the artistic foundations of many African countries, for future unknown projects. It wasn't until she moved to Philadelphia she knew what she'd use those beads for. While in between projects, Thornton began experimenting with jewelry. Love of jewelry and her own vintage treasury moved her to begin creating her own collections of personal adornment. Realizing personal adornment could mean more than just decoration was a turning point in Thornton's career.
Thornton's personal artwork isn't the only art important to her. Art advocacy is something she truly hopes will be part of her legacy. Art Guardian (which was vetted at the OneSpark Crowdfunding Festival) is Thornton's project dedicated to the preservation of traditional and indigenous arts in danger of disappearing, it is inspired by her work abroad. Her work with Art in Public Places through the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville is also something Thornton is proud of. Her goal is "public art for everyone", especially those for places she feels need the hope that art brings the most.
Thornton has always known she would graduate from her childhood drawings to career artist. Her goal is to change the way someone looks at the world and to show that there is beauty in our similarities as well as our differences. She focuses on the themes of religious symbolism, familial connections, nomadic tendencies, and spiritual metamorphosis. Her emphasis is on ethnic, cultural, and historical artistic heritage.
Thornton has exhibited her work private and public around the United States including the Museum of Modern Art at Jacksonville. Her work is in a number of private collections in the U.S., Canada, and Australia and is in the public collection of the University of Florida.
Tracie Thornton earned degrees in Printmaking and Graphic Design from University of Florida. She also studied at Florida State College at Jacksonville, University of North Florida as well as Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia.