To behold a painting by artist, Timothy Robert Smith, is like standing at a life crossroads. He captures everyday moments that have to the potential to go in many different, extraordinary directions, almost like a choose-your-own-adventure picture book. His perspective-bending painting style creates a surreal realm populated with people destined for transformative journeys. How do you describe the wrinkle in time effect that is often in your work?
It's based on the idea of multiple dimensions existing together in the same universe. I like to think that if you concentrate really hard, you can glimpse other realities, and they are no less (or more) real than this one. Basically, I’m trying to show what modern physics looks like.
What perspective rules do you follow to create your fun-house mirror effect?
I call it “Multi-dimensionalism.” It’s about seeing from all points of view at the same time; like spinning your head around real fast and recording everything you see.
How do you plot and plan a painting?
Everything starts with location; a place I feel some connection with. I usually stay there for several hours, sketching various viewpoints at different angles and talking to strangers. Then, I leave and sketch from memory. A story starts to develop. I go back with a camera and take a few hundred pictures. I do a few photo colleges, and more sketches, and start painting. The story evolves and I add characters (models). I figure out the rest as I go, and everything ties together at the end.
Where do you find the characters that populate your work?
Friends, family, strangers in the city, people who contact me from facebook.
What are the qualities you commonly look for in location you reference?
If it feels good, paint it. Usually, I can’t describe it..I just know. Sometimes I’ll have visions in certain places, or Déjà vu. Or i’ll pass by a place everyday and develop a relation with it.
What is a large scale project you would like to tackle someday?
Build an absurd amusement park with animatronic rides like my paintings. Anonymously start a new movement.
Do you believe in a spirit world?
Yes. We’re living in it.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I hope I can inspire people to think in new ways. I just want to press Reality’s “pause” button; force a glitch in our auto-pilot systems, just for a moment… and the rest is history.
Tim has several shows coming up, including a solo at Copro Gallery on April 15th. For more information about Timothy, go to www.tumblevision.com