Au Courant: Tell me about how you learned to do what you do... Do you have any formal training?
TIm: I was an illustration major at The Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. A BFA was included for a minimal extra charge. My secondary education came from working as a staff artist for various newspapers and as freelance illustrator.
Au Courant: Do you have any influences outside of painting? Does music influence you, for example?
TIm: Music has always been a huge part of my process, intertwined since high school. I made my first acrylic painting it an attempt to copy an album cover. Yes, I thought Roger Dean was the bomb. I remember working on images and what music I was listening to heavily at that time. Lately acoustic and roots music have been in rotation; very evident in my subject matter. I'm not sure I can pull the two apart.
Outside of musical influences I'm most often inspired by other visual artists—sculptures, designers, folk art, tattoo artists; concept artists are the best draftsmen.
Au Courant: When did you first start drawing and creating, and when did you first consider yourself an artist?
Tim: My earliest memory was the 4th grade spaghetti supper poster contest. I'm sure I didn't get a first place ribbon. It kept slowly building from there on an every-year-or-so basis. I had always considered myself an illustrator; it's who I am. A couple of years ago I was brave enough to admit to myself that I had mentally moved on from being a working illustrator and was evolving into something else. Now I'd call myself an artist/painter and a recovering illustrator.
Au Courant: How do experimentation and accidents play a role in growth of your work?
Tim: Those two are closely related. I don't think you can have one without the other. Forcing accidents to happen or experimenting with self-imposed restrictions, such as color schemes, materials, light sources... those risks can be the real game changers. Those are the exciting dangerous parts: the risk of ruining a painting or the moment when you "accidentally" save it from disaster. Saves feel really good. Disasters feel really bad. I save more now than I used to because of the large number of failures I have to my credit :)
Au Courant: What is your preferred medium? Is there another medium that you would like to try someday?
Tim: It's a toss-up right now. I really enjoy painting digitally with a Wacom tablet but hate doing it all the time. I equally enjoy traditional painting in acrylic on wood panel.
Au Courant: Do you ever censor yourself, if so how and why?
Tim: I try and censor myself everyday from making stupid decisions. I don't feel I really have to self censor, those stories usually are not the ones I am trying to tell.
Au Courant: Do you have a body of work that you won’t sell, that’s very personal?
Tim: No, they all have a price. I'm trying to make a living. I always hope I have another one in me. There are paintings I really hate to see leave my own walls. The special breakthrough images are hard to let go of as soon as they are done. Commissions tend to leave home before I even get to know them.
Au Courant: I know for a lot of artists it is about the process of making art and the end result is not as interesting to them. How do you fit into that?
Tim: I like the act of making the paintings, those choices you make in the process, the fleeting adrenalin rush when it's all clicking and the stereo is blaring—but I look forward to the end product when all of that excitement and some of the boring bits come together.
Au Courant: If you could spend 15 minutes with an artist dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Tim: I'd like to hang out in N.C. Wyeth's Studio and watch him work on his Treasure Island series of paintings. 15 minutes would not be long enough though. Classic stuff! I have often asked myself, "What would N.C. do?"
Au Courant: Anything else you'd like to share?
Tim: I'm lucky to have a person that understands me as a partner since art school; I'm married to illustrator Karen Lee, and a big - big tip of the hat to my very creative brother, Robert. Both have been inspiring me for a long time. Thanks for asking the questions.