Five Questions With… Tim Sullivan!

You might not have heard of Rabid, Wild & Docile artist Tim Sullivan just yet, but he’s an up-and-comer in the art scene, living in Brooklyn and lending his art direction skills to the tv world. His paintings are full of fun cartoon style characters, accentuated by clean lines and great color palettes. Looking at his work you can almost imagine a young Sullivan learning to draw from the cartoons of his childhood, and now mixed with his own style, he’s really hitting the mark. I am super excited to be talking to him for our latest installment of “Five Questions With…!”, so enjoy.

“Hunter” from Rabid, Wild & Docile

1. Where did your idea for the Rabid, Wild & Docile piece come from?

I knew I wanted to do something involving taxidermy and it kind of evolved from there. The initial sketches looked too much like a live bear, so I changed that to a bear-skin rug. The other elements kind of grew from that. Originally I sketched a big game hunter with a pith helmet and more of a safari theme, but quickly changed that to the Daniel Boone-ish woodsman in the final painting.

2. What artists are you looking to for inspiration?

My biggest influence artistically is definitely Evoker. He and I have been best buds for years and years and his work has always inspired me and motivated me to make paintings. Obviously we have similar interests in cartoony subjects. When Evoker, Gamo, and myself all lived together, their interest in art really drove me to work harder and start showing my work. I was also really beside myself showing in the same gallery as Flying Fortress. His work is some of my favorite right now.

3. I know you’re a DJ, so would you say music has any influence over your artwork or the process of creating your art?

When I moved to New York, my interests were definitely more music based and that was something that I really pursued for a long time.  It was difficult to juggle making music and doing shows, having a job, making art, and a pretty strenuous drinking schedule.  I really didn’t do too many painting for several years because of this. I just didn’t have the time. I think there was a point where Kats, Domer, and I put out something like 16 albums in a year. But then Kats moved and Domer started law school and that fell to the back burner. I didn’t really have that outlet anymore and painting has kind of filled that gap for me. I think I’ve painted more in the past year than I have in the previous 8 since I moved to NY. I suppose my approach to music and painting is pretty similar. I find it difficult to force either one and when it’s not working, it’s usually pretty bad. But occasionally I produce something that I’m really proud of.

4. You have a pretty interesting day job that incorporates your creativity, could you tell us about it?

Yes.  I do props and build sets for a living. Mostly commercials and music videos. I tell everyone I have the best job in the world. It’s always something different and usually pretty crazy. Today for instance I’m watching vintage pornography with Dave Attell. It’s pretty long hours and you never know when work will dry up since I’m freelance, but it’s definitely fun and creative. Even when my job sucks, I work with amazing people. My boss Kai is great and an insane genius at what he does. I also get to work with Gamo everyday, so I’m surrounded by some of my best friends all day doing crazy shit.

5. You’ve been an artist for a long time now, and started showing work in the early 2000s with a hiatus until now. Is there a reason why you took that break from showing work?

I think I answered this mostly in question 3, but I’ll say a little more about that. Back in the early 00’s I was living in Rhode Island. I had just graduated from college and was prolonging getting a real job for as long as I could. I lived with all of my friends and we literally had a party almost every night. Me and Evoker and Gamo would hang out and draw and paint for hours on end and I really became a much better artist at this time. We did a few shows around RI at OneWay gallery. It was really a great time in my life. I was also super into DJing and really wanted to pursue that so I moved to Brooklyn. I always have drawn a lot but I paint relatively slow. In the past few years I’ve gotten much better at painting. By that I mean my paintings generally look how I want them to and are more detailed than they used to be. I’m pretty happy with my work lately and I’ve basically been lucky and had people ask me to show work in shows.

Thanks, Tim!

Make sure to check out Tim’s work and the other pieces in Rabid, Wild & Docile before the exhibit ends on Sunday! And if you’re interested in seeing Tim’s studio, have a look at the piece Evoker and I did on him for Studio Miners.

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