The Artist In You by Tim Biskup

It’s not everyday that I wake up to an email from Tim Biskup, especially an email with a PDF version of a book he’s releasing, but last week that exact thing happened. Coming up on May 17th, Tim is having a solo show at Jonathan Levine Gallery called The Artist In You, and along with the show he’s releasing a book as well.

The book is also titled The Artist In You, in which he writes, “is intentionally unpoetic and bland and therefore compels me to explain my intentions. It also, hopefully, will compel the audience to seek an explanation.” Part of the reason he sent me the book was because I had mentioned that I’m not a bigger fan of “deeper meanings”. I’m okay with art being purely a visual experience. The best example I will ever be able to give is the tampon in the teacup, this is what I think of your “deeper meanings”.

But the book argues that sometimes you need a little bit of both to make really good art. That’s because he personally is thinking more and more about his art, that he feels like he’s creating better artwork. He also isn’t shoving this poitn of view in anyone’s face though, which I think makes a difference. This is my interpretation by the way, I could be totally wrong, haha… One of my favorite parts though is a passage called Sour Grapes For Rotting Vegetables, which is basically written for all the pretentious, art leeches out there:

Fuck you art intelligencia. Weak fuckers. You can all get in circle and talk about how art is dead and in need of re-contextualization, but it is your art that is dead. Your fake meaning and questions have spirale d into a post-art wasteland. Your need to control the situation and fear of risk and truth is what got you here. You must continue with your high art jack off if you want to maintain your relevance. It is only in the flimsy context that you and the other pathetic vampires have put forward as important that you retain a shred of meaning. Faced with time tested professional artistic ability and deep conscious personal truth you will wither and die. Put me in context and I will stomp your fucking head into pulp. Your greed has created a blood sucking, soul shattering beast that is growing full and sick and purple with the blood of the weak and brilliant. You can’t be like us and you don’t want to do what it takes to get to that point because you are so full of pain, evil, denial, mountains of bullshit, miles of rocky path and insurmountable passages. When the brave return they are battered and strong. If you control them, then who will doubt your power?

They may be strong, but your shame is stronger. Hear this: there is no elephant in the room. It is far worse. There is a crippled and shaking old theorist taking their last breath. We are coming. We are here.

I giggled while I read this because I’ve thought those exact thoughts before, even though I don’t even make art. I also asked him if that last part had anything to do with Banksy and he said I was onto something, haha… But he also argues the other side of the coin, getting rather deep and even poetic in some parts. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I respect and admire Tim Biskup so much, or maybe he just seems like a humble guy, but I have a lot easier time agreeing with the “deeper meaning ” philosophy when it comes from a guy like him. I feel like he isn’t a pretentious person, I mean he makes little plastic dinosaurs on one end of the spectrum, and fine art paintings on the other. I think that constitutes a rather well-rounded individual, as opposed to someone like Tobias Wong, who makes a living out of questioning the “deeper meanings” of everything.

So if you’re in New York next month, be sure to check out his show, and if you’re looking for a good read, grab the book as well.


4 Comments The Artist In You by Tim Biskup

  1. samantha April 29, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    Ha…loved that diatribe. It pisses me off to no end when an artist’s “intentions” are questioned. I prefer commercial art sometimes because of that. With commercial art the same cumbersome attachments don’t have to encumber the artist. However I personally feel that the experience of creating the piece of art, whether fine or commercial is the deepest and most meaningful part that cannot properly be explained to say…an art critique. I’m going to check out the show and book.

  2. Tim Biskup April 29, 2008 at 3:14 PM

    Thanks for the words of support, Bobby.

    The whole project is, ultimately about finding balance in my art. Looking at the imbalance in the art world as well as in my own perceptions has helped me to embrace participation rather than rock-throwing. The piece that you quoted above felt great to write, but it is far from a conclusion.

    I actually like Tobias Wong’s work. It’s like stand up comedy. It deserves it’s place in the art world.

    When I was in art school way back in 1986 I thought of making braille bumper stickers that said “If you can read this, you are too close.”. Then I chuckled and kept working on my painting skills. Seems like that was a fork in the road for me. If I went ahead with the bumper sticker idea I may have saved myself a lot of grief trying to be taken seriously as an artist for the last 20 years. Then again, I’d probably suck at drawing & that would be lame.

    Cheers – Tim

  3. Bran DJ May 8, 2008 at 7:02 AM

    Where can you find the book?

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