By Angela Valente Romeo
What can you say about someone who finds philosophy relevant; was on faculty with Baldessari; has Hockney say his work was “a damn good painting” and has shared garage space with three Hockney original works? Tim Townsley is one interesting person.
“I taught figure drawing, color theory and painting at Cal Arts. John Baldessari recommended me because of my figure work and how I capture the human form. David Hockney was a friend of my landlord, Jack Larson and his Hockneys shared garage space with my works. Hockney saw my James Joyce portrait at Jack’s home and thought it was good. And yes, that was a compliment I appreciated. To be acknowledged by an artist I respect, is greatly welcomed.”
Formerly a Los Angeles resident, Tim recently became a full-time Cathedral City Cove homeowner and artist. Tim Townsley sets about creating work that interests him at any given moment. He received his BA in art from Cal State L.A. and received a Masters of Fine Art from Otis Art Institute. ”My education included classical arts training but I also studied philosophy. Had I taken a different turn in the road, I may be writing and not painting.”
Philosophy may be at the heart of Tim’s work. “Art represents images, among other things. It’s what you do with the image that makes the work interesting. I have a deep respect for illustrators – they can draw and are able to interpret a concept. I worked for many years as a commercial artist and matte painter. In that arena, commissions and jobs were often chosen by reputation and how one stands out in a crowd. Style was not the issue, the ability to interpret another’s vision and make it your own, was the key. Artists who work in this area adapt to the situation. My work now as a solo artist, without having to please people in the commercial field, is only restricted by my own decisions.”
“I love reading both fiction and non-fiction, however my favorite area is the writings of philosophers. Philosophy requires one to embark on a pursuit of wisdom. Art is so many things and draws on these concepts. One form of art is moving paint on a canvas. For art to be interesting it requires more than the mechanics; it requires thought mixed with skill,” noted Tim.
“Sometimes art is a forced aesthetic. My work as a matte artist and commercial artist was created to fill a specific need. Sometimes an artist may need to create work that has a commercial aspect. For example, a gallery may want a specific style or a certain output from an artist. For me, in my studio, at this time, I want to create work that interests me and hopefully a collector.”
“Richter, de Kooning, Motherwell and Diebenkorn are artists I find interesting, as well as the British Moderns – particularly Bacon and Freud. There is incredible energy on the canvases that these artists create; it is this work that I find appealing. My work takes note of planned designs and lucky accidents; there is no black and white — there are a myriad of shades of gray. Like Wittgenstein, I don’t take myself too seriously.” It is certain that Tim takes his work seriously.
Tim has developed a way of seeing the extraordinary in the most unexpected places. His Red Elephant II brings a new dimension to an inflatable toy. His portraits of Jazz Artists, Jazz Standards, are at UC Riverside Palm Desert Campus through December 18. “Jazz artists, like modern day philosophers, do not always get the social media and press they warrant. In my work they get the recognition I feel they deserve.”
This entry in the 2015 Palm Springs Art Museum Artist Council Exhibition is entitled Artist’s Studio Chair. “This Wassily chair is in my studio. One day, as I sat on a very comfortable chair, I saw this studio chair in a different light. I have painted this chair many times, but this time, the simple, elegant design and the actual colors of my studio, created a new way of looking at this functional object.” This painting, like so much of Tim’s work, finds beauty in the ordinary.
For more on Tim Townsley visit www.timtownsley.com. For more information on the PS Art Museum ACE, visit www.psmuseum.org/palm-springs/exhibition/artists-council-exhibition-2015.