Born in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK - live in Néré, Charenete-Maritime, France
Graphite and coloured pencils; oils; acrylics; pastels; preparing to produce drypoint prints
Surreal; abstract; linear
In order to find a clue to the authentic abstract I have learnt how to kill people, heal people, pray, baptise, marry, and bury people ... I searched in the primary jungles of Malaya, talked with the Tibetan monks of Dharamsala, listened to the solitude of the Dartmoor marshes, and finally began to gradually unload bits of human conditioning in order to take just one fragile step further. My art? Daily personal reminders that I am returning to that appropriate and abstract deep.
“Please tell us about your first experience creating.”
I was seven, and I was at school listening to a history lesson about native Americans. The teacher drew a rough chalk image of a totem pole on the blackboard for us all to copy. To my surprise, my best friend (who I was sitting next to) began drawing an elaborate rendition, giving his imagination free reign. At that moment I vowed I would never simply "copy" anything but let my own mind guide me into places I would not normally have gone - and I determined that I would produce art that would come direct from my heart (and deeper!).
“How long have you considered yourself an artist?”
I do not consider myself an artist. Others have called me that. It is up to them as to what they think I am. Some people do not consider me an artist at all. So while the critics argue I will simply continue to make marks on the ground.
“What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?”
Nothing. Primarily, my work is for myself. I consider it a personal privilege to be able to "look" towards the abstract, and then allow my humanity to "play" with the interpretation. Once that happens, the next privilege is for my interpretation, mixed with my imagination, to make manifest what is in fact an inadequate human response to the abstract ... but it is a start. If others respond to what I do in any way (hate it or love it) then that is great.
“Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion.”
Difficult to say in words (which is why I make the marks) ... first there is the deepest silence, far beyond my consciousness - this is the abstract (or at least part of it). Like a tiny bubble rising to the surface of an ocean, the abstract "approaches"; my humanity, unable to really understand what it is witnessing, begins the human compulsion of labelling - everything. Even if, in this case, it is totally abstract and has no human reference, somehow my humanity will "lock" onto a visual of its own making (this is what I call the interpretation). Ironically, I believe, this enigmatic image is not arbitrary (nothing within the abstract is - never has been). Although there is no actual purpose in it ("purpose" is a human contraption) it arouses a kind of desire or hunger within me ... I begin to sense an urge to visualise ... that which cannot really be visualized! Then the physical process begins ... the "images" plus the imagination work together dynamically, as I make each mark ... until my humanity has watered down the original "bubble" into a drawing or painting.
“What things inspire you to create art?”
Mostly anything that is natural ... a fallen tree, thunder clouds, textures ... and more textures!
“What exhibitions have you had?”
Many. I started exhibiting in the late 1960's ... Bristol, Bath, London, Stevenage, Birmingham. I've shown works in Singapore, India, Belgium, UK, USA, and now France.
“Have you sold any of your artworks? How?”
Yes. Through agents, galleries, open air art markets, general markets, my own studios, in my homes, and now through the internet.
“How do you promote your art on the internet?”
“Tell us about influences, if any.”
“Please recommend another artist you admire, and tell us a little about them.”
It has got to be Zdzisław Beksiński ... I know very little about him other than he produces work that sends shivers down my spine. His intricate work is filled with symbols and has an enchanting darkness that I find very inviting (I do not see it as morbid or fearful ... then again, I have never considered the darkness in a negative way ... in fact quite the reverse). Time should be taken to consider his work. It should never be lightly or casually gazed upon.
“Tell us something interesting in your life.”
I have been on so many adventures! But one ironic picture often comes to my mind and makes me smile. I served in Her Majesty's Royal Marines ... specializing in jungle warfare ... spending many days and nights on dangerous tactical exercises. I remember specifically on one occasion (which became a repeated experience each time I "was called" to the jungle) moving as silently as I could along an animal track in the thick forest. A very tense time. We had prepared for this by living in the jungle for a couple of weeks - washing was forbidden - we had to smell of nothing more than the rain forest itself. And here we were just about ready to bring the whole event to a "deadly" close. I manoeuvred myself into a position of readiness, half submerged in "sweet" water. It would not be long before the signal. Just before it came I found myself face to face with a ... flower! A beautiful flower ... a totally exotic flower ... so different ... almost alien ... I had never seen such a thing before! It was incredible! As I stared at this truly wonderful vision it was as though the whole jungle became silent in adoration ... I became one with the trees and vines ... and I realised that I was surrounded by beauty, richness, virgin intensity. So, here I was, dagger in hand ready to pounce, ready to put all the specific deadly training into practice ... pausing to gaze upon a flower!! This tiny intense moment changed my life ... from then on I would never see the jungle - or any green thing - in the same way again!
“What is the most annoying thing someone has said to you about your art?”
I was showing work at an open air art market ... the work was selling quite well, and there were quite a few interested viewers. At one point an elderly gentleman slowly approach the stand ... he began to meticulously look at each drawing and painting. I began to think that he might have been deciding on which image would be suitable for him. He continued silently for almost half an hour. Finally, he appeared to drum up courage to come and stand next to me. Without looking at me he bent towards me and whispered ... "a f***ing monkey could do this" ... and quickly walked off. I was annoyed because such a comment is not a criticism of the work ... it is a personal view and bares no relationship to anything. Many people have expressed why they do or do not like what I do ... that is always helpful. But to simply voice such an opinion in such a way only makes the commentator sound ignorant.
“Do you have any regrets in your life as an artist?”
None. Although I believe in quantum multiverses, I do not believe in mistakes or wrong decisions - it is not that simple. I was meant to travel this path ... with its apparent free will ... but in the end the weirdest thing is that I do not believe I exist ... therefore there is actually nothing there to regret. Would I regret a highway mirage?
“What plans do you have for the future of your art?”
To go deeper. Mine is a journey that does not have a conclusion here. My work points away from the human experience (or tries to). So whilst I try and gradually put the human away, ironically it is the human that has the means to do so! This is a real energetic contradiction ... but one which "works".
“Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?”
Work every day ... do not let one day go by without making a mark on the ground. If that discipline is kept - then the day will come when you cannot stop!
Tim Seaward – Dangerous Steps Within the Labyrinth
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