Friday, March 18, 2011

Tim Liddy: St. Louis


Artist Tim Liddy

Please share a little about yourself.

I grew up in Michigan outside of Detroit. After traveling and studying in Europe for 
about a year, I moved to St. Louis for grad school. I live there with my wife Rebecca 
and 2 1/2 yr old son, Winston. 

Did you receive any formal art training? If yes where and what did you major

I studied at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit where, after dabbling in industrial
 design, printmaking, and painting, I settled down for a degree (BFA) in sculpture.

Was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?

Yes, and I'll try answer as short as possible: when 16, I broke my neck playing 
hockey and was paralyzed from the neck down for inside a year. As I started 
drawing for physical therapy on my hands and arms I fell in love with the practice.
 Knowing that my goal of playing professional hockey might not be possibly, I
traded my allegiance to art. As I got more mobility I decided to go to art school
where I studied with several professors that influence me tremendously.
The sporting arena became my studio and the rest is short history. Having a 
disability really was the gift that helped me focus on what I wanted to do and make
a career of it.

View of "circa 1967".......almost finished.
Detail of trompe l'oeil stickers.

Can you describe bit about your work in general. What is your current work

With this recent work, I initially wanted to create a time capsule of the boardgames Americans played — focusing on the design, gender stereotypes, social themes, and evolution. I document the box tops or covers. There were some strange and very 
questionable social/political decisions made within the themes and designs of these 
games. It was the times we lived in then. By re-contextualizing the subject you can 
really see them anew. 
They are as much sculpture as they are paintings. Primarily on copper or steel, they
are in the size of the original (although some are fictional). Everything, including the 
tape, stains, and tears are documented and archival. It's become a bit of an obsession.

What is your workspace like?I have two studios. One is large and holds most of my large-scale works of my past along
 with supplies, tools, and various equipment. I used that space for most of my messy work.
The other is small where I do most of the painting. I use enamels which are very sticky to
 work with so the environment must be as clean as possible.

Finishing touches (hard on the upper thoracic vertabraes!)

Are you involved with any arts groups or communities? If yes, what do you
> gain from that affiliation and what do you contribute to it?

I'm a professor of art at Fontbonne University in St. Louis. Of course I gain a tremendous
amount of energy from my students. I love to share my ideas and thoughts with them as 
well. So much so, in the past year I've made a small studio for myself in the grad studio 

How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you
 support your art colleagues?

I'd have to say that outside of my students, it is hard to find time to visit my friend's studios.
Several close to me are on my speed-dial and can't get away with anything new for very 

Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

Over the past years, my weekdays have coursed through some habitual rituals: 
I wake up to fix breakfast for my wife and son and let my dog outside. I then check out 
the news on the Internet, stretch, shower, get dressed, and head straight for the kitchen. 
I prepare my usual breakfast—two pieces of toast, brushed with olive oil and a light spread 
of blackberry jam (seedless). With this, I have two peanut butter chocolate chip cookies 
and high-mountain tea from Taiwan. During this time, I read and must have complete 
silence so I can concentrate on the rhythm of taking one bite of cookie, then toast, and a 
sip of tea without losing my reading spot (this practice requires an expertise and, if alternating 
the bites correctly, has the taste of glorified peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). My afternoons 
entail a 13-minute commute, with my dog, to either my studio or school to teach. When hunger 
sets in, I return home to cook dinner with my wife and son and discuss the day’s events. Then, 
try to catch a hockey game on satellite TV. My weekends are a little different. 

During all these activities, I am sifting through ideas and images that rush through my mind, 
trying to figure out why and where they belong.

Do you have other jobs other than making art? If so, please give us some

Other than being a tenured professor being a daddy to a toddler keeps me busy, indeed!

Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention?

I'm presently working on a spring show at Hespe Gallery in San Francisco.

You can see more of Tim's work here.


Naomi said...

Tim is a wonderful guy, in addition to being a very talented artist. I was totally fooled when I saw his Monopoly box, thinking it was the real thing!

Anonymous said...

Tim is a consumate artist and a great human being. I am fortunate to know him and possess a number of his works. Thank you for this sweet interview!