I am an illustrative fine artist based here in Bristol. I've been here since I graduated from Falmouth College of Arts in 2004 with a first class (BA Hons) degree in Illustration. I tend to work more in the fine art market now, but my degree (which concentrated mostly on book illustration) did however give structure to my love for working directly from my imagination and gives my work its narrative quality. It also encouraged a passion for drawing, which is at the core of all my work and is, for me, the most satisfying and visceral mode of expression for exploring my ideas and the dark subconscious. I have exhibited extensively in galleries in Bristol, London, Yorkshire and across the South West as well as San Francisco. I am represented in Bristol by Antlers Gallery.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I've always been aware of loving art of all forms. I remember particularly looking with wonder at and getting lost in old detailed illustrations and attempted to imitate them when I was very young. I enjoyed drawing almost to the point of obsession, to the exclusion of most other things. My dad is a classical composer and my Mum was a gallery owner so I was surrounded by cultural appreciation and certainly encouraged to follow an artistic life.
The almost meditative state you can get into when drawing and the cathartic process of getting ideas and emotions out visually, hopefully in interesting ways that can then be shared and engaged with as part of an enjoyable dialogue with others.
The campaign is to fund the production of a limited edition run of 200 prints of my artist book project 'Anima Mundi'. This is a 5 metre graphite drawing presented in an A5 concertina book format, it is sort of a long visual poem in which the pages can be folded in a myriad of ways that effect and broaden the meaning of the main narrative. It might be easier to watch the Kickstarter video as it can be hard to envision unless you see it...
I understand you started drawing your book whilst you were working at Harold Hockey. Where did your initial idea come from?
Yeah I work a few days in the great independent art shop and Bristol tradition Harold Hockey Ltd, and they started selling concertina sketchbooks. I thought what an amazing format and just found it inspiring to work in that continuous and linear way. I suppose the long, unfurling nature of it lends itself well to story-telling, that's why i liked it i think.
The title of the book is ‘Anima Mundi’ (Latin for 'Soul of the World') what was your inspiration behind the name?
Well, in the book there is a continuous flow that morphs between the human world to the animal to plant-life and back again and an exploration of the fight between the chaos of life and death, rebirth and decay in these worlds. I like to see life in a kind of an Animist way; where all natural objects and phenomena have an energy that connects us all together, so the old idea of a World Soul seemed to fit perfectly, also 'Metamorphoses" was taken... ha!
Your work has been likened to artists such as Gustave Dore, with similar mythical symbolism, how do you feel about that?
I of course love his style! He is a massive inspiration (in fact I re-drew his image of Charon the Ferryman as a sort of visual dedication/ starting point of Anima Mundi) He also got to illustrate some of my favourite Epic Poems/ Classical literature like Dante's Inferno, Milton's 'Paradise Lost' and Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Raven'...and loads more.
How would you describe your creative process?
It comes a lot from reading and letting the different stories, myths particularly, which are endlessly inventive and dark ways of exploring human experience and therefore your own subconscious. They sort of percolate through your mind. Then I sit down and let the imagery flow out on to the page in almost a random way until you look at what is happening and begin to start making symbolic links and the creative decision making can then keep flowing... till it is done!
Describe your studio or workspace?
I work in my bedroom as I like being surrounded by personal items and daily routine, also living with the work and looking at it though different mind sets helps give the work a greater richness of experience. I find it too disturbing being with other people in studios as my creative process is private and meditative.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Probably Albrecht Durer as he is one of my favourite artists. Just to see him creating would be great rather than what his studio actually consisted of physically. Same goes for William Blake or Henry Fuseli as well... would love to just see them working.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A handmade skeleton puppet that was my mum's, but it is broken so I have all the bits in a box (coffin) and will one day restore him to his full glory. I only have the head to hand at the moment:
What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut?
I read the Italian writer Roberto Calasso's works: The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony which is about Greek Myth or 'KA' which is about Hindu Mythology... he is amazing in his scope and vivid in his way of exploring the stories. Myth is just a gold-mine of dark and intriguing imagery.
Finally, how can we get involved in the kickstarter campaign?
Yeah, it is going really well, have been so encouraged by the response so far.. but we are still not quite at our goal! So even if is just sharing it on all social media or with interested parties on blogs or obviously a pledge to help the whole project go ahead, all is massively appreciated! Have a little look at the link to see what it is all about: Anima Mundi.
Thank you Tim for a really interesting interview. We love the uniqueness of this project and would urge you all to make a pledge and help Tim get his incredible books printed.