Friday, October 28, 2011

A Conversation With Tim Dickinson

"Vacant" 2010

Tim Dickinson, an artist from Wales, UK, creates artwork that explores emotion, dark versus light and the human condition. What I like the most about Dickinson's artwork is the quiet emotions that linger in the light and the darkness of his artwork. There is a sad sort of softness about them that resonates with me. Dickinson took time out of his schedule to talk with ArtSeen about his artwork and his artistic processes.

Can you tell us a little about your artwork, artistic process, and what types of artistic materials you use?

My artwork is at the moment exclusively digital. I use Photoshop and my Wacom tablet to produce my images. I have always embraced technology with regards to art, even back in the day on my spectrum when really you were dealing with very big and blocky art. Using technology and computers is really second nature to me and I love the way it releases me from many of the constraints of traditionally produced art. The thing I love most about it is that it allows me to experiment with the compositions and lighting and the like; what I mean is that when doing traditional work it’s so easy to experiment, you make a mark or apply some paint and it’s hard to undo, you have to really work hard at it to get it spot on and if you make a mistake it can ruin an image; for me working digitally allows me to try all the compositions I like without fear, it frees me up to experiment and get exactly the composition and look I want. In short, it releases me from those pressures and allows the art that’s in my head to become a reality in a relaxed and more enjoyable way. That’s not to say it makes it easy, I still have the same problems all artists do regarding composition and lighting and the biggest problem/challenge of all, coming up with the ideas in the first place.

As for the process I go through, it is probably very similar to most artists. Sometimes I have an idea and just sit down and start sketching, trying to achieve what is in my head, other times I just have the urge to draw and to express myself and have no idea what will appear when I start drawing. This to me is one of the joys of art, watching something appear from nothing and not knowing what I will end up with. After the initial sketch it’s a matter of filling in the sketch and working out the lighting; light is very important to me and achieving a balance in the image. Although my images are simple at first glance, they are actually quite complex to produce and require a lot of thought and work.

"Away.." 2011
What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?

This one is pretty easy to answer; all of my images are primarily driven by emotion and the human condition. I have always been interested in philosophy and I think this also has a part to play, just an interest in what drives people, the common experiences and issues that each and every one of us go through at some point. All of these things play a part in my inspiration but most of all it is emotion. I have a feeling and I try to get that down in the image, to express those emotions in the most simple and powerful way I can. So most of my inspiration comes from within, for me it’s also about using negative emotions to produce something positive, something people can relate to and engage with.

"Ascent" 2010

What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?

As mentioned in the last question, my concepts/themes and ideas are all based on emotion and the human condition. I almost exclusively deal with the darker side of human emotion though. I find those emotions much more powerful and interesting. I also think a lot of people try to hide those emotions from the world, they are almost taboo, something to be ashamed of or a sign of weakness. I think this makes them more interesting to depict, but more important than that is the fact that the people that have those feelings can relate to my images, and can feel that there is someone else out there that feels the same, that understands.

Are there any artists that inspire you? If so who would they be and why?

I don’t really get inspired by any other artists as far as my personal work goes. I of course have artists that I admire and am in awe of, some of these would be H.R Giger, Andrew Gonzalez, Chet Zar, Hieronymus Bosch to name but a few. I guess a common theme with all of these artists is the element of fantasy; I’ve always loved seeing the strange and weird worlds and characters that these artists produce. With Giger and Andrew Gonzalez, I really love and admire the flow of the images. I’m a big fan of the curves and intricate, seemingly complex nature of the work, which is weird because my work is really quite far from that and is about cutting away all that isn’t necessary. Although I say I don’t get inspired by other artists I do however always get inspired by a visit to an art gallery, I always return home after immersing myself in that world fully charged and eager to work on my own art.

"Gone..." 2010

What’s the best and worst part about being an artist?

Hmmm this one is a little harder to answer; well the best thing for me is the act of creation. I think that is one of the very best things about being an artist, sitting down with a blank page in front of you and over time seeing the image appear. Then the pay off when you complete an image, I love to sit back after I’ve completed an image and think to myself "that never existed before." The act of bringing something new into the world always excites me and there aren’t many jobs/pastimes out there that give a person that reward. Another thing that being an artist brings me is that people relate to my images, this is a huge reward too. I often hear from people who have related to my images in quite a deep way, this is something that really touches me and always inspires me to continue.

As for the worst part of being an artist, well there is the obvious downside of having a less than reliable income, but really that is a price worth paying. I think the hardest part for me is when my muse goes awol, I still have the desire to create but sit there blank page in front of me, sketching but nothing really happens, this can be really frustrating, but I think over time this gets easier, I am becoming better at working through this and coming up with strategies to get over those little blips in the creative process. But any of these points aren’t so bad really, all areas of life have their little downsides and this is no bad thing, those hurdles are needed, if everything were easy there wouldn’t be so much reward in achieving the goal.

What do you want viewers to walk away with when they view your artwork?

Well my art is very much about having a dialogue with the viewer. I work very hard at making my images non specific, they often give a message, but I try to allow enough space in the work for people to superimpose their own feelings, experiences and emotions onto the art. I sometimes like to think of my art more of a mirror allowing the viewer to explore themselves more than what’s on the canvas. I’m always very interested when people tell me what they feel or get from my images, I find it fascinating how many different interpretations people get from my work, I love this, I think what people see in my work is more a reflection on themselves than what is in my image. So to answer the question, I want people to engage with my images, to have a personal dialogue and hopefully to trigger some emotion.

"Contact" 2010

And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?

I think that if you are an artist you will do art, it’s not a case of wanting to or forcing yourself to do it, you just will, it’s in you and you can’t be any other way. So I’m not going to say "keep working" although this is obviously good advice, I just think an artist will do this anyway. The best advice I can give is to do art that is you, don’t try and emulate others (although for practice this can be valuable). Do the art that is in you and don’t worry what others will think. I think this is the only way of finding your own personal style and that to me is where the most interesting and innovative art comes from, so be brave and have faith in your own personal brand of art. Oh, and also get your work out there, art needs to be seen!!

For more information about Dickinson and his artwork visit his website and his deviantART page for more details.

Artwork provided by Tim Dickinson.

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