An interview with Timothy Karpinski

An interview with Timothy Karpinski
1) Please talk a lil’ bit about the general idea/vibe behind your new series of works for “The Place I Call Home”.
The title has many meanings which I’ve been exploring in this new body of work, The Place I Call Home. One of which being the place I live: Portland, Oregon. A lot of the work has to do with my ties to this city I live in and how it’s become my home. The work also explores the idea of “home” as where one feels most comfotable, or at one with yourself. The place you think of in your head where everything is safe and sound, the arms of a lover or the branches of a tree, both comfort me. I’ve also incorperated the symbol of the home, or house into the work, many of the frames are custom built house shaped frames costructed of salvaged wood from old demolished Portland houses (so can’t wait to see those – ed. note). So I’ll be bringing some of Portland’s history down with me.
2) What’s your earliest memory involving art or creating art?
Aside from the general “art time” or “craft time” in grade school, or my mom giving me supplies to paint, my first conscious experience of creating on my own terms would probably be building stick forts in the woods on the edge of the property i grew up on, at the time i did not see it as art.

3) When are you most productive / when do you normally work on art?
Definitely most productive late at night, I tend to work really late and sleep late. It’s 2:24 a.m right now, and I’m typing as paint is drying, drinking a little red wine and listening to music really loud. I’ll sleep ’till noon and head to the gallery to do computer/design work during the day, and if I’m lucky some yard work before the sun goes down.

4) Please tell us a bit about Together Gallery, that you own and curate up in Portland. What have you found to be one of the biggest challenges thus far? Biggest reward thus far?
Together was a dream of mine for a while. Since I’ve been in Portland I’ve had a studio space outside my home to work on design projects and art, last year my lease ended on my studio downtown and I got the opportunity to rent a storefront right by my house with a back room to use as a studio, the rent was a little more than my old studio, but i could have a gallery in the front so it just made sense. I guess the biggest challange for sure has been time managment, running a gallery is alot of work, i thought it was going to be easy, but nothing good is easy. I have been trying to take the curating really seriously as well as the online presence. Just day to day stuff like sending emails to artists and shipping art and such is really time consuming, so its taken away from studio time a bit. The reward comes when someone walks into the gallery and says they feel inspired. I’ve also learned alot about the business side of the “art world” which has helped me as a working artist aside from a gallery owner.

5) Tell us something about yourself that someone would never guess in their wildest dreams.
Last year I started having recuring dreams about sailing and I kept drawing a sailboat obsessively. I took it as a sign and took some lessons… Well, I went to sailing school this summer and bought a sailboat, I named it Sweet Marie, it’s appeared in a few paitnings recently. I want to get good enough to sail the ocean, hopefully sail around the world someday.

6) Are you reading anything right now?
A childern’s book titled ZZZZzzz.

7) Do you listen to music while creating? If so, do you have a current favorite that inspires?
F*ck yes, non-stop, music is critical to my process. It can set a mood for a piece with a certain song, or I may get a second wind by putting a certain song on. A lot of my work is directly related to certain songs I obsess over. It’s funny, I just just got one of my favorite musician’s new album, Horse Feathers’ “A House With No Home”, a few weeks ago which strangley had alot of songs with stories that touched upon similar ideas of the term “home” as I am in the work I’m producing for the show.

8) If you had to explain your work to a stranger, how would you do so?
A hug, a hello, or a kiss goodbye.

9) Favorite artist (living or dead) and what makes them special to you?
My freinds. I’m surronded by so many amazing artist and free thinkers here in Portland. I live with 2 of them: Seth Neefus and Mark Warren Jacques. We are constantly pushing each other, it’s a great environment. But seeing a Henry Darger painting in person still makes me weak in the knees.

10) You incorporate a number of different mediums and styles into your work. Do you have a favorite? What brought about the stitching together of paper as a canvas to work upon?
The sewing was a happy mistake of sorts. I bought a sewing machine to make cloths and alter garments from goodwill and stuff. I really like the element of “craft” in work. I’ve never been just a big canvas kinda artist, I’ve alway liked to mix mediums and build stuff. I was working with layering wood for a while but it was big and heavy and fell apart, then I started to cut out and layer paper instead, one late night I had a big paper collage in the works and ran out of glue and my sewing machine was sitting there so I just started sewing the piece together. Process is a big part of my work. I have sketchbooks full of pencil drawings, but I only like to show stuff where I really explored the idea thru the medium.

11) What have you got coming up in terms of shows and projects after this show?
Winter projects! It gets cold and rainy in Portland so everyone hibernates, and I plan on doing that! But i have a project, I was asked by one of my favorite bands, Lovers, to story board and animate a music video based on my drawings. We are gonna do a crazy animation of my layered worlds moving and telling a story. Besides that I’m trying to build a greenhouse and find a wife.

12) What are you doing right after this interview? Getting back to work on a piece for the show called “Sleeping Heart”. You’ll see it soon.

Timothy’s website:

Timothy’s gallery:

Timothy Karpinski‘s The Place I Call Home
Opening Reception: Fri, Nov. 7th 7-11PM in our project room

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