AN INTERVIEW WITH TIMO~NANDA ELLIOTT BASED ON QUESTIONS FROM THE ONLINE ART MAGAZINE “HYPERALLERGIC”
NAME: TimoNanda Elliott
Location: Martha’s Vineyard
Artistic Medium: Collage, Painting, Gardens, Podcasts, Songwriting, Film-making.
Who are you and what do you do?
Who are you? I am the guy who picks flowers and puts them in the vase, the curious guy who is intrigued by the wallpaper in an old hotel, the one who still buys tea pots… then actually makes a pot of the stuff on a cold, rainy day and shares it with a friend. But, when all is said and done, in spite of my reluctance to call myself “an artist”, by definition that’s who I am: I am an artist.
My art work is relaxed and sometimes playful, never stuffy or formal. For a long time I considered myself just a PAINTER, but when I look back on what I have created over the years, I see a balance of music making, moving pictures, visual art and environmental-art. I have always been fascinated by the concept of INTEGRITY in regard to art. As a matter of fact, from the very first time I laid eyes on Dianne Durston’s book, “Wabi Sabi: The art of everyday living”, I identified with the concepts within it completely. I feel like I can successfully claim the moniker WABI SABI ARTIST. My work has always had a certain anti-manufacture, anti-commercial element to it. It’s often rustic, imperfect and simple. In the mid 1980’s I had an exhibition called “Art for Sterile Environments”, in an effort to add life and a sense of realness to spaces that lacked humanity and vulnerability.
My artwork does not fit into most typical beach house art collections. I have never been big on painting beach scenes or sunsets. I was always more interested in reflecting and commenting upon the work of more serious work by artists like Rauschenberg, Franz Kline, Basquiat, Bonnard, Vuillard, and Kurt Schwitters. I consider myself an avid a fan of art, and I make art too.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
For better or worse, I believe my greatest accomplishment has been to pursue all my various creative endeavors over the course of my life, in spite of the cost or hardship. Remaining true to my work, exploring new things, and living the life of an artist.
What constitutes a perfect day?
A perfect day is when I learn something new, see something amazing or just a blend of pure adventure and nothingness. Lately a perfect day also includes recording and publishing a new episode of TIMONANDA TALKS (my podcast), getting all the plants in the gardens I tend to watered and weeded, swimming for 20 minutes at the Y, getting 5,000 steps in, eating healthy foods (and managing to avoid the bad/processed stuff) and saying Hello to friends at the post office, library… or even just giving a little wave as we pass each other on the road.
What was your favorite exhibition from the last year?
I love going to the new Broad Museum in Los Angeles, it is the perfect sized museum and has a comprehensive collection of contemporary art. I especially was impressed by "The Visitors" by Ragnar Kjartansson, a nine screen Installation.
What would your superpower be if you had one?
Flight! Lifting off or landing smoothly anywhere, any time would not only be fun but certain to impress, even the most cynical among us.
Tell us a lie about yourself:
I’m already dead, and all work is worth a small fortune.
What is the difference between commercial art and real art?
Well, I feel that manufacturing stuff to sell is different than making art. Making ART is connecting with something more authentic. They both require a certain skill-set, understanding of color and dexterity of hand, but true art is different because it requires risk. Art is making something where nothing existed before, imbuing an understanding of life, it is simple and complex at the same time. You don’t need to know all about every painting ever painted to make art or understand it, but there is a conversation that continues through art that is based on what has come before. In my family we have a joke about art, something my uncle once said, “ART: You know what it is. You like what it is. It has pretty colors”.
What is the greatest threat to humanity?
Why are you excited to be showing your work at the Chilmark Public Library?
I love to exhibit my work outside the gallery system because I have never really been a fan of galleries, although I have shown in several over the years including the Sargent Gallery and the Field Gallery. I have always preferred to have my own pop-up exhibits (like the one I had in the Tisbury Market Place many years ago in a vacant store), or at the Church Street Muse. Recently I had a retrospective hosted by Bunny Rollins in a huge open space in the center of the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, it was a pop-up gallery we called the Traction/Hewitt. Libraries are great. It’s nice to have the work open for all to see. Maybe someone who never expected to see art or never would seek it out is inspired by something I have done.
TIMONANDA’s art will be hung at the Chilmark Library on June 23rd and will remain on exhibit until July 12th, with an Artist Reception on Sunday July 6th.