Monday, March 1, 2010

Maifest Equality

This is one of three paintings that I did as part of an installation piece called "Access Point" for this weeks mammoth Manifest Equality show. The painting is at the top of a three foot tall tower, facing upward. It's easy to see for everyone. The second painting is at the top of a six foot tower and is more difficult, but not impossible to see. The third painting is nine feet up and impossible to see unless you have a ladder, know someone who is part of the event, know me, or if you buy the piece (which I highly recommend).

The idea is about elitism and seems a bit pessimistic compared to the general tone of the show, but as hard as I tried I could not think of a way of expressing my feelings about the issues of human rights and equality without expressing anger and discontent. The restriction of access is, on many levels, a recurring theme in my life. For me, it is that constant struggle to be taken seriously as an artist. It seems completely frivolous when I compare that struggle to what members of the LGBT community must deal with on a daily basis. At any rate, I hope it translates.

I'd love to hear your thoughts...


  1. First off, gorgeous piece here - the text and overall painting has a vigilant, optimistic sense of anger to it rather than one that is resigned and hopeless. Your sense of color always blows me away.

    I don't see any reason why you should struggle with being taken seriously as an artist. Is it a personal struggle or one you've dealt with in the "art world"? You've already accomplished more than any artist could possibly hope for and it looks like there's no stopping. What is serious art anyway? I remember going to see the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh several years back. There they had a room dedicated to Crumb's comic work - something I never really paid much attention to until that day. I was floored at the complexity and craftsmanship, as well as his ideas -in my eyes, he was truly an artist. Predictably, some people bitched about Crumb's work being in the show, not due to his controversial content, but because it was the work of a, gasp, cartoonist. Yet, in a few spaces over, there was a large room filled with chairs that looked randomly scattered across the floor, and paint splattered all over the chairs. I can't quite recall the reasoning behind this mess, but I also don't recall anyone making a fuss about it either. I'd like to think I'm pretty open-minded about art too, but this just sucked.

    Anyhow, I think of some of the modern art which inspired me and opened my eyes to a world of possibilities - the art you'll see as part of most major museum's permanent collections - the Picassos and the Miros, etc. If you step back, try and erase the name of the artist from your brain (and your knowledge of their history and significance) you'll find it isn't all that it's cracked up to be. There are plenty of artists today whose work could and should also have a place on those walls for a myriad of reasons (your work quickly comes to mind).

    Anyhow, that's my thoughts. As for the frivolousness of complaining about the art world, It's all relative - artists have the right to be fed up with the state of the scene. I agree - it seems kind of petty to think about those things, when compared to the human rights issues that others have in other countries as well as in our own back yard. Still, it's important, just on another level.

  2. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for your comments! I know what you mean. I'm really grateful for the success that I have had as an artist. The fact that I make a living doing it is hugely satisfying to me. I guess I equate being taken seriously with access to the infrastructure of the art world. When I see the resources being offered to artists that are considered to be "important" by the blue chip art world I get all envious and grumpy. I can only imagine what I could do with a good sized budget for a public works project or something like that. So far, most of the work that I've done has needed to make money in order for it to exist (meaning, it need to be something I think I can sell). That puts a limit on what I make. There have been a few cases where I have thrown caution to the wind and made things that I knew were not going to jive with buyers. Those projects are always the most fun and challenging. I need to do those things in order to push my art to new places. Unfortunately, I end up funding them myself.

    So, that's really what I mean. I want people with the keys to that castle to let me in so I can go nuts. I know I could make mind-blowing art for them. Not a room full of chairs and paint splatters, but a big, beautiful, well made thing...

    I am definitely getting attention from some of those people & I know it is just a matter of time. Meanwhile I push myself every day to make the best work of my life. It's always exciting, even if it is just a napkin sketch at lunch.

  3. Hi Tim,

    First off, thank you for creating a blog and allowing this great dialogue about the art world and especially your art. Out of all the Lowbrow (pop surrealism) artists, I enjoy yours the most, because you do push your art all the time. A 2000 Tim Biskup piece looks different than a 2010 piece, which is great!

    You mentioned that you throw caution to the wind sometimes and make something that might not jive with collectors for the purpose of pushing your art. I was wondering if you would be willing to share some of those pieces and is "Access Point" one of them?

    I plan to stop by Manifest Equality tonight, hopefully to see "Access Point". Also, I love the concept of your installation.