Hi Tim. Your art is so unique. You mentioned being a mixed media artist. Can you explain how the pieces are made and what materials are used in them? Some of them look 3D and 2D at the same time.
Most of the time, I don’t have a plan going into a drawing. I believe a narrative emerges if you’re paying close attention to where things are going. The materials I use also help to decide on what the piece is about. I cut out from Atari game manuals, glitter paper, neon paper, aluminum foil, pretty much anything I find interesting, or shiny. When shopping at craft stores, I look for a pattern or texture I can use to create another meaning for it. For example, i try to make aluminum foil into a flower pot for a neon red topiary plant. I also compose images in a very flat, isometric world. A place where the architecture is simple and the rules of physics are bent quite often. I think that is what gives my work a 2D and 3D uneasiness. I am currently working on a series of dioramas, just to make it even more confusing for myself.
What was it like deciding to be an artist after growing up in a family of engineers, accountants, stock brokers, school teachers, etc? Was it hard for you or for them?
I think in the beginning it was kind of a shock to choose that path. Especially since being an engineer is a more reliable, 9-5 type of gig. I did draw a lot in high school but I never took art classes until I got to college. After I started doing well in art school, my family seemed to respect how hard I worked and encouraged my progress.
What are you hoping to convey through your work? There’s a lot going on in some of these pieces. I bet I could spend hours analyzing them and finding connections to consumerism, self-image, and much more. Do you think about these things while creating?
I want to create a world that feels like it’s in a parallel dimension to our own. The inhabitants of this world behave similar to mankind, but less inhibited and much more advanced, technologically. I don’t really think about my work as any kind of social commentary. It’s just my version of a utopian society. All they do is work and party, but I think I might have them fight some space monsters in the future.
The story behind the piece titled “Interplanetary Art Show” is that I wasn’t getting any shows at the time so I just decided to put on my own art show for the beings in my world. I mix and match with math, science fiction, and physics terminology for the titles of the drawings. I feel like my work would come off as pretentious if I name them Untitled 1, Untitled 2 and so on. There is just too much going on to not try to hint at a story or place where this absurdity is happening. Eventually, I would love to be given a whole gallery space to turn into a walk-in diorama. That would be fun to interact with.
With such a unique style, I am wondering how you settled on this style. I think a lot of artists struggle with finding their own voice and style. What was your journey like to this point?
My college portfolio was very different. I did a lot of pencil renderings and stuck to black and white paintings. It took me a long time to develop confidence with color and figure drawing. I still don’t think I draw the figure very well, but it resembles a humanoid being…thing, so that’s close enough. I used to obsess over whether you could “…feel the bones under the skin.” as my professors would say. About a year ago, I got very tired of spending hundreds of hours hunched over my desk rendering an image to impress gallery owners. I just started quickly drawing random things to catch an interesting moment or to really find out what kind of artist I want to be without trying to impress people. It was scary to reject all the technical skills I developed with graphite and jump into the unknown world of naked aliens, neon tables, and glitter clocks, but I’d rather be scared than complacent and safe.
You mentioned living in rural NJ after rejecting the city life of LA. I have found that many artistic-types long for the bustling city life and find it necessary for anyone in the creative field. I don’t feel this way, myself. What have you found to be the case with city vs. country life as an artist? Is the peace and quiet more valuable than the potential connections of a city?
I just get over stimulated in cities. However in this age, where you can spend hours and hours finding new artists on the internet, I don’t think it’s crucial to live in a major city. For example, I recently had a show in Portugal based on my Tumblr blog. If you just make yourself available and update your social media then I don’t think it’s particularly vital to live directly in a city.
Finally, can you give some advice to the many young artists who visit the Nonsense Society? What have you learned along the way that you can pass on?
I think the main thing is to look at a lot of work, both online and in person. Artwork is very different in person. You might not even like a piece anymore because it wasn’t as big or as bright as you were hoping it would be. Which is all the more reason to go home and try to make it better. It’s like picking up where the other artist left off. I’m still pretty new, in terms of actually getting shows and other illustration jobs, I hope what I said helped a little.