Dead artists who tweet

I love Twitter because it is such a great connector of people. I have found a rich community of artists, people who live in the Bow Valley, creatives who live and work around the world, and lots of printmakers who use this fun “real time” media to connect with one another.

LINDA COTE-Tweeting birdBut, lately, I’ve had a funny thing happen. I’ve been followed by dead artists. Yes, you read that correctly. But, these are not just any dead artists … these are dead artists who TWEET!

My favorite is artist Tom Thomson (@TTLastSpring) whose Twitter account is serious look at a 95-year-old mystery surrounding this famous Canadian artist who died in Algonquin Park on July 8, 1917. Tom is tweeting about the last spring of his life, complete with Google links to the places he paints, photos of his paintings, and tweets about books he’s reading. He died under mysterious circumstances, and his death is still a mystery.

LINDA COTE-Tom Thomson on TwitterTom Thomson @TTLastSpring also has a blog that states: “It all started in November 1916. I had the idea to tweet the months of my last spring in real time.” The blog is a fuller version of the tweets, and has gorgeous Tom Thomson paintings posted throughout.

The Twitter @TTLastSpring account is a truly fascinating and well-researched look at this artist’s last months on earth. The person behind the account also remains a mystery, as you can read in “Tweeting A Mystery”, a blog by Jenn Kerr. Our Canadian national newspaper “The Globe and Mail” also wrote an article about it recently. 

(And, thanks to Jenn Kerr for telling me after I published this blog that Winnie Trainor on Twitter (@winnietrainor) was involved with Tom Tomson and also tweets about the events of 1916/1917, as well as what happens after.)

I have loved Thomson’s art for a very long time. He was an amazing Canadian artist and I remember seeing an exhibition of his paintings in my twenties. To that date, I had only seen his paintings in coffee table books, and they always seemed larger-than-life to me. So, I was surprised to see that many of his works were created on fairly tiny 8″ x 10″ boards. But then, knowing what an outdoor enthusiast he was, that made sense because he painted in the wilderness and could only carry small canvas boards.

If you get a chance to explore more of his artwork, it really is worth a look. You can also read about the Tom Thomson mystery in two wonderful books by Roy MacGregor called “Canoe Lake” and “Northern Light”.

At the very least, check out the Tom Thomson Twitter account: with more than 4,800 tweets and counting, this is one of the best “dead artist” Twitter sites around.

Fresh Water Marsh Hen-JJ AudubonThe other artist I giggled about being “followed” by is John James Audubon, the French-American naturalist and painter. I love Audubon’s famous bird illustrations (“The Birds of America”). We have a copy of this huge folio of his works in our library and I can spend hours pouring over it. A fascinating portion of his life spent travelling and researching in Canada is the subject of a book called “Creation” by Katherine Govier, which is also a great read about the creative process.

Incidentally, both Roy MacGregor’s and Katherine Govier’s books are on my top ten list of books about artists. If you are on Twitter, you can also follow Roy MacGregor (@RoyMacG) and Katherine Govier (@kmgovier).

If you like the idea of following artists who have crossed over, here are some others on Twitter. Many have posts of just their artwork, or sometimes tweets taken from quotes they had written when they were alive. Some are active, some not so much.

Vincent van Gogh @_vincentvangogh

Georgia O’Keefe @GeorgiaOKeeffe

Andy Warhol @andywarholsays

Frida Kahlo @__FridaKahlo__

Pablo Picasso @TheCubist

The reason I particularly like Tom’s and John’s Twitter accounts is because they are quite active, and strangely relevant to today. But that’s the fun and quirky thing about Twitter … there is lots of content to choose from, and you can take as little or as much as you like.

(And, by the way, if you’re over on Twitter, I’d love it if you find me, too! @LindaCoteStudio.)

2 responses to “Dead artists who tweet

  1. Thank you for the mention of my blog post in your post! Following “Tom” is probably the highlight of the last two years! Winnie Trainor (although absent lately) also tweets about the events of 1916/1917 as well as what happens after. (@winnietrainor)

    • Hey Jenn! Thanks for this. It’s such a great idea, and done so well. I really enjoyed reading your blog about the behind-the-scene story! Thanks for the tip on Winnie — I’ll add her right now, too!

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