Interview with TikToy for “Timewarp”

Thinkspace is proud to present Timewarp featuring new works by Netherlandish artists TikToy in the project room. The exhibition is the artist’s first solo project with Thinkspace, and will showcase the artist’s surreal character clock sculptures that possess psychedelic cuckoo fixtures. Inspired by the aesthetic freedom of street art, pop surrealism, and graffiti, his cartoon-inspired, sculptural interventions are staged throughout cities worldwide in unexpected recesses and its less-traveled nooks. In anticipation of Timewarp our interview with TikToy explores the allure of the street, the constant stream of ideas, and the desire for just a little more time with his clocks.

SH: How do you approach developing a new body of work? Were there specific themes or techniques you wanted to explore in ‘Time Warp’.
TT: When I take a piece of wood I try to create a shape that’s organic. Kind of like when I do a throw up with a spray can. There doesn’t have to be symmetry.  What is important is that it looks and feels good to me. The shapes come while working. I take a look at the way the wood goes and the shapes follow. When I have sawn a clock I like, the painting begins. I love different patterns and colors. The challenge is to combine the different patterns and colors into a coherent whole. This process comes to me at the same as I’m making the shapes. There is no fixed plan. While working I do what feels good and the rest follows
The most important thing for me was translating my street work into work that is worthy of hanging in a gallery. Street art, of course, can be very temporary. Sometimes my work only stays in the street for a few days. I want to keep this contemporary street art flow alive in my work but also take it to a next level so it will stay in someones home and last much longer.

SH: Is there a particular piece in this exhibition you feel really challenged you? If so, why and what makes you proud of this piece?
TT: The work I’m the proudest of in this exhibition is “Jan”. It has been a real struggle to get it to something that felt correct and good. It’s a piece that has been on top of my closet for some time and I just didn’t get to finish it. The shape was a burden but after finishing other works I got more inspiration on which way to go. The work has induced both a laughter and a tear for me. It shows emotion which grabs me. Also, the different structures and changes in this clock are pretty cool to me.

SH: Where do you source inspiration?
TT: Clocks in general. But of course, also the old cuckoo clocks the most. On top of a cuckoo clock is very often a deer. That’s where the idea came from to put antlers on my clocks. I have always had a big fascination for squeaky toys from the 60’s and also my collection of designer toys. They can be very colorful and often a bit absurd. I love the crazy and chaotic. You can find that in my work too. Making art is a way to escape and not go crazy. In the past, I have felt down at times and making art helped me to get to inner myself. Creating new pieces and hanging them in the city helps me get going. Itś a way to process my emotions.

SH: How do you capture ideas for pieces: do you have a sketchbook on hand or is it just a note to yourself in your phone?
TT: I’ve got lots of different sketchbooks. and loose papers laying around my house, atelier, car etc. I just draw on everything actually. Im very chaotic and tend to loose everything. I also use my phone for notes or pictures. Or I send a message to my wife about new ideas. Who by the way gets crazy over all my stuff I leave everywhere around the house.

SH: How do you plan out your compositions?
TT: See first question and answer

SH: What excite you about your work/creative proces?
TT: The interaction between my work and people in the street. The high amount of time I put in my work which is mostly very contemporary is something people appreciate. That appreciation is what drives me. Thats why I keep looking for new ways to create this interaction. As an example, I just made a clock that whistles as people pass by.

In the past I used to do graffiti. That’s where I got my kick from. The tension of doing illegal things, doing what your not supposed to do, setting off against society – is the same kick I experience now in doing my street art. When I get back home early in the morning from working nights, it fuels me for the coming weeks

SH: What frustrates you about your work/creative proces?
TT: It frustrates me when I have worked long on a piece and it gets removed soon, broken, or stolen. It’s a pity but comes with leaving your work in the streets. Especially when I put my work in a difficult spot. It can be a bummer. But the streets will always be my gallery.

When it comes to my gallery work the arrow of the clock hand can be frustrating. It can be very laborious to get them the shape I want. There is a lot of swearing involved.

The most frustrating to me is my lack of time. It’s all done in the spare minutes and hours I find at evening/night. I would kill for a month with only time for creation.

SH: What is an aspect of other’s artwork that really excites you, what are you draw to?
TT: I can really enjoy still life painting. The perfection in these paintings can make me look at them for hours.

SH: Who is an artist: musician, director, any art dorm who would be a dream collaboration for you and what would you create?
TT: Dran, he’s a draftsman and graffiti artist. His work is really catchy. Funny, simple but really good thought out drawing. In a blink, you can see what his work means. I would love to combine a figure of him in 3D in a clock.
Also, I would like to make bigger spatial objects. In stead of a big mural, create big 3D clocks that’s movement is generated by wind.

SH: Has there been someone or some event that has made a significant imact on you that lead you to where you are now?
TT: As a kid, I was always challenging myself. Always creating, drawing, painting, sculpting etc. At first, my parents wouldn’t let me go to art school. I had to do a “real” profession. Later on, I did go to art school but dropped out in the first year. It wasn’t for me. There was not enough freedom in doing work. I wanted to do my own thing. So I proceeded in doing street work and painting canvasses. I have many different styles but the clocks and arrows ar always coming back. Like a red line in my life.

Since my daughter was born I started making the 3D clocks. I didn’t want to take the risk of getting caught for graffiti. So I had to find something else. Although this also is not completely legal. The streets just keep calling me.

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