Art Chat with Tim Biskup
Inspired by mid-century modern design and infused with punk rock energy, Tim Biskup's work is a manifestation of the Southern California environment of his youth. In his upcoming exhibit at THIS gallery entitled Former State, Tim re-examines his art roots and emerges with a body of work that's familiar yet fresh and refined.
Here Tim talks about the inspiration behind his latest show, growing up a Cali native and stand-up comedy.
The title Former State suggests that a examination of your roots (both personal and work related) is at play. What's the inspiration behind your latest exhibit?
Yes, exactly. I wanted to revisit some of my early subject matter in an updated way. It’s like looking at old journal entries and rewriting them from the perspective that you’ve gained since then. I’ve learned a lot and changed a lot since I started making character based work in the early ‘00s. Back then I was really creating characters and developing them more than I realized. Those characters took on a life of their own. People attached a lot of meaning to them. Over the years I felt like the characters were kind of taking over. People were looking at paintings of certain characters rather than just looking at the painting and seeing it for what it is. The things in these paintings don’t feel the same. They are intended to be disregarded. They are the subject of one painting and that is it. You will never see another image of them. I even did things like switching up materials and hanging the paintings slightly higher than they seem like they should be in order to keep people’s attention on the paintings and the gallery setting rather than pushing the personality of the subjects. There are also no titles on the wall. Just the sculptures that are the subject of each painting mounted on the wall next to the painting.
You were born and raised in Southern California. Tell us about life growing up as a Cali native and the inspirations (toys, movies, books, etc.) that have influenced your imagination.
I love Los Angeles. It has an aura about it that makes me feel at home. I’ve always been a fan of modern design and architecture and I feel like the best of it is here. Cities like Copenhagen, Barcelona, Tokyo... Those places have a similar feeling to them, but LA is relaxing. Being around the entertainment industry gives all of the work I do permission to be entertaining. I feel comfortable that people are going to like it if it looks good. They can theorize and extrapolate if they want to. There’s a lot more there if you persue it, but it can just be a nice thing on the wall if that’s what you want.
What was the defining moment when you realized you wanted to become an artist?
I think watching Ren & Stimpy. I had thought about being an artist and certainly tried, but I never had the inspiration to do the work that it would take to develop my work. That show made me want to draw constantly. In all of that drawing I found my own thing. It took about 10 years, but I found it.
If you could hang one piece of art from art history in your home or studio, what would it be and why?
I’d like to have a Tiguely sculpture. One of his really crazy ones. I would love to just switch it on and have coffee in the morning while it goes nuts.
Tell us something about yourself we wouldn't necessarily know.
I want to do stand-up comedy. Someday I will.
If I were to spend the day with Tim, what could I expect?
Coffee, Exercise, Food, Parenting, Painting, Emails, More Parenting, Beer, Meditation, Girlfriend Time, Doobie, TV, Sleep... Not necessarily in that order. Also, maybe a DJ gig or banging on my drums.
Thanks Tim! To learn more about Tim Biskup and his art, visit timbiskup.com.