Parisian and a whole lot more…Tim Marsh is 33 and the proud owner of several lives in several places. Currently in Spain, he was somewhere else yesterday and will be someplace else tomorrow.
A well-rounded artist, he commonly juggles with various tool in order to convey a visual or virtual message, collect energies and retouch skateboards. Here’s some chit chat he had in store about his background, his outlook, and his experience.
When did you first take up creating?
I’ve been way into extreme sports since I was 5, then from middle school on I really got into graffiti. At the beginning, I would just doodle stuff in my notebooks, then I started ditching school with my friends to go paint.
After high school, I rollerbladed a lot, and also got into capoeira, both of which were a big source of inspiration for my painting style. Ethnic patterns started to pop up in my pieces, and letterings slowly started to take less place in favor of more abstract forms.
After a few years spent in design school, I started working in fashion, first around ready-to-wear brands, then I started writing for the fashion column in Snatch magazine. That is when I felt a confirmation of my interest in clothes, and started getting ideas for new things.
It was around that time that a friend of mine explained the principles of long-exposure photography to me, which in turn made me think of establishing certain connexions between sports, drawing and art in general.
You shoot photos, paint, are into graffiti; where would you say the connexion is, between all those fields?
I think it’s just all related. You can read into any of those activities and find new meanings for a different one.
Extreme sports have influenced my artistic practice a lot. When you see people do tricks, there’s something almost calligraphic to that, be it in rollerblading, surfing, parkour… Which is exactly what allowed me to push my photography. Capoeira helped me push painting. Photography helped me push rollerblading.
If you stick to just one activity, then you’re stuck studying nothing but what’s already been done before in that field. Whereas if you expand to a variety of interests, you get the inspiration to come up with something new. There’s so much to dig in so many different fields - all activities just complement one another.
Couldn’t you lose yourself trying to juggle with everything? Do you go through phases with every different activity?
I don’t know about losing myself. I do what I want, when I want. I don’t think I start liking certain activities more or less depending on what I’m going through, but maybe I go through phases. I’ve been painting more than shooting photos lately. When I start a new painting, I know the subject, but can’t predict the final results. That’s what I like.
With photography, you kind of know what you want to achieve right from the start. I pick my spot, if there is motion involved I know who is going to act, and I know what I want to show, eventually. Then it’s all a wrap in the matter of a few seconds. Whereas with painting, you’re thinking through a whole process.
So, to address your question, I’d say everything is on one same plan. What I do, and when I do it, all depends on the idea forming in my head. I think if I had to pick just one activity, I’d eventually grow bored of it after a while.
Do you feel like an artist, an illustrator, a craftsman?
Definitely like an artist.
My activities are just ways for me to lay down ideas. Ask me to shoot some « traditional » photography and you’d be to find out I really can’t. Same as far as woodworking goes. To be a craftsman, you need years of experience, and the right gear. As for me, I took the time to learn what I needed to learn from any of those fields, but I’m far from calling myself a craftsman.
Online, your name is linked to light painting, could that grow into your top activity?
Light painting is a quite recently popularized practice, albeit quite ancient. And seeing lights draw an athlete’s motion, like a stencil, is something new. Whereas painting on canvas isn’t.
That is what I’m associated to online indeed, but it’s not the main thing I do. As of now that would be painting, although I do do some light painting whenever an idea pops up, or wooden hats, or design work. I’d say all of that is my top activity.
Generally, who are the artists you’d say have influenced your development? Those you look at the works of, or that you hang out with? Who would you say is your number one today?
My earliest sources of inspiration obviously have been some of the biggest names in French graffiti. When I was in middle school, I’d go to the skatepark in Balard where people had painted a mural. That was my first time seeing Mambo ’s work, who always stayed a major source of inspiration for me, and a great guy.
Alëx One, Oeudipe back in the day, was my idol. He was the first one I saw start distorting the letters so as to make the piece abstract, and leave room to some curvy, flowy shapes.
Working in a print shop, I’ve gotten to learn about the works of artists who would come to the shop to get them printed, discussing their projects with them around some drinks. The guys from 9ème Concept, JR, Mambo, Alëx One, Ceizer, Kekli, and Rero, who I was working with.
You switch from animals to pop culture, or from geometrical shapes to engraving - are those your daily inspirations, or working phases?
Maybe a big chunk of my daily inspiration can be traced to 80’s / 90’s pop culture, which was a whole new era as far as introducing fresh technology back in the day. Video games, TV series, special effects in movie. To a kid like me, all those characters, and those codes behind them, are just iconic to this day!
The animals are a reference to the icons from all those years, the geographical shapes and colors are a throwback to codes of that era too, as you can find in TV shows such as Saved By The Bell or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Digging through your childhood memories from back in the 80’s, you will find references in every single painting or illustration, as well as in all the stencils for the light painting.
Let’s wrap things up with what your ideal project would be?
Right now, the idea of painting a building wall has been on my mind, I’d be way into that! In other countries if possible - as to discover regions of this world I haven’t been to yet. And that’s plenty of them!