You are currently viewing Talking Shop With Australian Artist Timothy John | Features

Talking Shop With Australian Artist Timothy John | Features

The world of watches is way richer than simply manufacturers and shoppers. Its material is fabricated from exceptional individuals who all specific their ardour for the subject in their very own distinctive method. Just lately I had the privilege of speaking with Timothy John, a famend artist from Australia whose distinctive work hangs on the partitions of homes all world wide, together with that of legendary producer Quincy Jones. He has collaborated with numerous watch manufacturers and the luxurious Italian penmaker Montegrappa. In our newest interview with the artist, we talk about the place his sustained ardour comes from, and the way a prognosis of Parkinson has effected his work.

WT: How does one turn out to be a famend artist?

TJ: I as soon as heard that somebody referred to me as a’ quiet achiever’, and I’m proud of that, however to reply your query, I feel onerous work and dedication go a protracted approach to success as an artist. A ardour for creating and a deep need to decide to that keenness are additionally wanted. The lifetime of an artist will not be straightforward, properly, for me, it hasn’t been, with many monetary ups and downs, however I do know deep in my soul I can’t do anything.

For those who had requested me 20 years in the past, I might have stated, a famend artist is revered, strives for excellence, and explores their chosen medium(s) to the fullest. In fact, they might have gallery publicity internationally and be extremely wanted by collectors, however occasions change, not at all times for the higher.

These days, I feel it’s extra spin than talent that dictates success. Now, an enormous social media following, a very good publicist and mass media publicity are the instruments of the commerce. There’s a need to realize celeb lately, that appears to be the final word objective of many, and in consequence there’s a substantial amount of mediocre artwork receiving accolades…..The emperor is an NFT wandering bare whereas the plenty applaud.

WT: The place does your ardour for watches come from?

TJ: My first actual watch reminiscence was as a extremely younger youngster, spending plenty of time with my maternal Grandfather. Sitting on his lap, listening to his tales, serving to him pack his pipe with tobacco. Then that treasured second when he would let me look at his gold hunter-style pocket watch. It was so lovely, so heavy in my little hand, and its guilloché’d case so tactile and mesmerizing the way in which it caught the sunshine. I used to carry it near my ear and listen to the tick, and I actually felt it echo deep inside me. Then once I was about ten years previous, my Dad gave me a Seiko 5 Stainless Metal computerized and it was magic. I cherished my Dad and my Grandfather very a lot.

WT: Up to now you might have labored with numerous watch manufacturers, notably portray skulls. What’s your fascination with this matter, and the way does the method of making go? 

TJ: The cranium watches are “Memento Mori” items; A reminder of the inevitability of demise, the passing of time, a reminder to reside life whereas it’s there’s life to be lived.

Presently I’m creating items for my buddy Paul Fazio / Darkish Triumph Watches within the U.S. As for the method, the watch dials are created on both clean steel discs or precise current watch dials, I hand put together every disc in another way both by sanding again completely and cleansing (or working inside the parameters of an current dial) over a interval of a number of hours, then relying on the imagery I need to paint, I’ll lay down a number of layers of coloured oil paint pigments, then burnish and sand again with ultra-fine moist sandpaper, these layers must be totally dry earlier than I proceed to the following stage, I do that till I get the specified depth of shade and floor texture. It’s a labor intensive course of, however it’s required to present myself the perfect’ floor’ to work upon.

I then consider the featured painted picture for the dial. I take advantage of oil pigments, the identical that I take advantage of in my works on canvas, as I’m snug with them and their permanence is unquestionable, I take advantage of small sable brushes, however I’ve additionally been recognized to make use of my fingers and different devices, to get the specified outcomes…it is vitally much like how I create my giant works on canvas. Within the case of my cranium dials, I underneath paint the cranium construction, slowly increase the picture with consecutive layering of oil paint, till I’ve reached the specified results I need. Once more, every of those painted layers must be totally dry earlier than I proceed to the following stage.

After I’ve accomplished the picture, I go away it to dry for a number of days, I then hand burnish your complete dial by gently rubbing it by hand with a delicate wood burnishing software with glassine paper between the software and the paint floor and eventually with a pure silk fabric, then I go away for a number of extra days to “settle”, after which I seal the picture with both a gloss or matte spray lacquer. The ending course of can take anyplace between 7-14 days, and a accomplished dial takes roughly 1 month from idea to completion. On the finish of the method I need to have the ability to maintain the dial in my hand and really feel a way of magnificence whereas on the similar time a preciousness and a power.

WT: You may have additionally labored with famend (fountain) pen watch producer Montegrappa; how did this collaboration come about and the way did the completely different designs come to life? 

TJ: Connecting with Montegrappa was by some means written within the stars, it was meant to be. As a pet lover, I had lengthy been an admirer of Montegrappa, their story and their consideration to the artwork of pen making, and I had the will to create one thing with them.

I had the thought of hand portray pens, in fact this was nothing new, many pen corporations have created hand painted items, however I wished my pens to have the fervour and the imaginative and prescient of my giant studio work. I’m by no means a miniaturist, I don’t have the abilities for the work of those artisans, that I maintain within the highest regard. I simply wished to color and create distinctive items.

So, I wrote to Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa, launched myself, and advised him of my thought to create for him. As I say, the celebs should have been in alignment, as a result of he utterly understood my quite awkward unsolicited proposal, embraced it and stated sure, “let’s give it a attempt”.

From that day we related in an exquisite friendship, I used to be actually blessed. Getting a foot within the door of any firm could be very tough, much more so within the rarified world of luxurious items, however with Montegrappa and Giuseppe, it was as if it was meant to be. There was no set briefing for designs, I urged that they ship me a number of pen ‘blanks’ and I might play with them. As I stated, there was no outlined transient or expectations, in actual fact I really didn’t know if I had the abilities to fulfil this need I had for thus lengthy.

So, to quick ahead, 4 pen blanks arrived from Bassano del Grappa and I used to be dedicated to creating my imaginative and prescient a actuality. It took a whole lot of trial and error, portray on a small, curved, easy floor was tough however I desperately wished to maintain the promise I made to myself that I might strategy this work on pens, as I might a big canvas…and by that I imply, I wished to maintain the fervour and the poetry alive and never really feel constrained or’ tight’ in anyway, it was undoubtedly a psychological perspective factor. In consequence I created my first pens “Le Quattro Stagioni / The 4 Seasons”, every pen was an impressionistic interpretation of a season a boxed set of 4 pens. I then went on to create the “White Heron” pens, a field set of two, and lately I’ve created a collection of particular person items, however sadly, the discharge of those was held up as a result of COVID and the knock on results on manufacturing. Hopefully they are going to be launched in 2022.

WT: A few years in the past you might have been identified with Parkinson’s illness. How does this affect your life and work?

TJ: Nicely, therein lies a narrative… After being identified by my household physician with suspicions of PD, I used to be clinically identified by a Neurologist, I used to be then placed on Parkinson’s medicines. At first these have been very profitable in ‘quietening down’ my physique tremors and different signs, however over time the treatment’s effectiveness diminished, and began inflicting me unhealthy negative effects. 

I additionally developed new signs, that didn’t match the Parkinson’s ‘profile’, this made me hunt down one other opinion, and after the identical scans and the identical assessments that have been carried out by Neurologist No 1, Neurologist Quantity 2 stated, he didn’t assume I had Parkinson’s! 

I and my companion Lorraine have been so glad! However I used to be nonetheless experiencing these Parkinson-like signs. I then noticed a Neuro / Biologist who’s examined my mind chemistry and he put me on a course of amino acids to try to facilitate neuro synthesis of assorted neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. It’s serving to, though there are days once I get the Parkinson like tremors and have a sense of being unwell, however I’m not getting worse, which is the perfect factor.

The considered me not degenerating with Parkinson’s is so fantastic, and the prospect that no matter neurological injury/issues I do have could also be treatable and probably repaired is wonderful.

Regardless of the final result, whether or not I do have Parkinson’s or whether or not I’ve been misdiagnosed I’ll at all times need to contribute in any method I can to seek out the remedy for Parkinson’s, and I’ll do what I can to lift cash and consciousness for the trigger. I created the pen for Workforce Fox in collaboration with Montegrappa, with proceeds of gross sales going to the Michael J Fox Basis for Analysis into Parkinson’s Illness. I’m actually pleased with that challenge.

I’ve met so many individuals with the illness, and it doesn’t matter what my final prognosis is, I really feel I’m nonetheless a part of that neighborhood and I need to do all I can to assist.

Because of this and different well being points— I’ve an upcoming hip substitute, as a result of osteoarthritis— I’m working smaller in my studio work. I’ve not performed a big canvas for a number of years, and I’m extra snug, bodily and mentally, engaged on smaller scale; in actual fact, I’m actually having fun with the intimacy of my new studio works, rediscovering the great thing about the panorama.

WT: You may have created a sequence of designs for watches which have but to be made. What impressed you to take action and what’s the story behind them?

TJ: My inspiration is just to create magnificence, at any time when I can and in no matter kind I can.

I’ve at all times had a love of gorgeous issues, objects, watches, pens, jewellery, and my thoughts wanders and I draw issues I might like to see produced.

I do that figuring out in my coronary heart, that the chance of the drawings / concepts ever being made is unlikely… however I adore it.

Maybe at some point when I’m useless and gone, my notebooks can be found by one of many nice jewellery homes, and I’ll turn out to be a kind of famend artists we spoke of earlier… I reside in hope… I’m good at that, dwelling in hope, I feel it’s my strongest character trait. I don’t have to sleep to dream.

WT: With which watch model would you continue to like to collaborate?

TJ: There actually are so many, that I’ve considered, I’ve even approached a number of over time hoping that one thing could occur, however in so many situations, there’s a closed door coverage, that doesn’t permit for ‘exterior’ collaborations, which I utterly perceive. So quite than providing you a direct reply of a selected model, I must say, that I might contemplate it an exquisite alternative to work with a model, that thought collaborating with me was an exquisite alternative!

You should keep in mind that I’m not a designer, I don’t have the abilities to make use of the expertise wanted to design in such specialised fields as watches and jewellery… I’m purely a dreamer, I let the road that connects my head and coronary heart wander and I observe it’s path and benefit from the journey. Typically that journey results in the creation of magnificence, in no matter kind or medium it requires, typically it doesn’t…. however there are at all times new strains to make and new journeys to take.

WT: And some questions I’m asking all of the individuals taking part in a interview:

Favourite meals?

I’m very spoilt as a result of my darling companion Lorraine is a (retired) chef and every part we eat at house is fantastic, each delicacies possible.

My favourite meals when eating out is relaxed… perhaps Greek, a collection of Meze, fish, octopus, salad, grilled meat,…. ice-cold beer or wine or each.

…and an ocean view, sure, that will do properly thanks.

WT: Favourite place?

A peaceable, tolerant, wholesome planet, I hope and pray that can occur….quickly.

WT: Favourite watch?

A favourite watch that I personal is a ‘challenge’ watch I put collectively utilizing a 47mm Radiomir model case, domed Plexiglas, white enamel pocket watch model dial, and UNITAS 6497. It’s a pretty trying watch and has nice wrist presence. As for one which I don’t personal; I really like the Grönefeld Parallax tourbillon, ideally in crimson gold.

This interview has been calmly edited for readability.