Addicted and Alienated, This Artist Painted Herself out of a Corner [Video, Photos]

Jorge Martin Melchor

Artist Antoinette Thompson was an unhappy kid growing up on the Navajo reservation. She was often in trouble—once, she was even jailed—and she left home at 17 to find a new life. She ended up in Phoenix, but struggled with a growing alcohol and drug abuse problem while taking college classes. Four years ago, she decided to stop drinking and discovered painting. She developed into a skilled abstract artist, and her work has been shown in galleries across the U.S. She’s sold more than 160 paintings. Thompson said she uses painting as an emotional release, and she likes the idea that others find beauty and joy from her work. She also hopes her story inspires others who have struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, and troubled childhoods.   

To see more of Thompson's work, visit and

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