10 Questions: Tim Eads

Species of Spaces, 2012
Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño

10 Questions is a recurring feature that asks artists and other cultural figures about their work, lives, and personal insights into the contemporary art world.

Originally from Texas, Tim Eads is a Philadelphia-based artist who creates sculptures and installations that are often interactive. Tim is exhibiting his work in the upcoming Centennial Juried Exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum, the West Collects Philadelphia exhibition at the Art Gallery at City Hall, and Bleach Blue at FJORD.

1. Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?

Most of my inspiration comes from visiting heritage museums like the Mercer Museum and watching poorly made YouTube videos of garage junkies making tiny engines or futzing with wireless electricity in their backyard. I also enjoy perusing books on how things were made prior to the Industrial Revolution. These handmade machines and tools are endlessly entertaining to me.

2. What’s your art-world pet peeve?

This is a difficult question. I don’t really think about the art world in these terms. Yes, there are things that annoy me, but what’s the point in dwelling on the negative things? The truth is, if you’ve decided to participate in this world by being an artist, critic, writer, gallerist, then I believe that means you accept all the quirks and problems. At any moment you can step out and decide to do something else, like become a physician’s assistant or high school English teacher. You also have the choice to participate as much or little as you choose. It doesn’t do anybody any good to think about what you hate about something.

3. Who is an artist that you think hasn’t received enough recognition?
There are so many out there I hesitate to name names. The interesting thing I’ve found is the hurdle isn’t their talent, rather their confidence in who they are and what they make. Evidence for this is all the bad work out there that sells for thousands of dollars. The moral of the story is to be confident in who you are and develop a quick, interesting story about what you make.

4. What’s your favorite place to see art?

I love Dia Beacon. The space itself is so powerful and relaxing. Art hung there looks better than if it’s hung somewhere else.

5. What’s the last show to surprise you? Why?

A few years ago I saw Anish Kapoor’s piece at the Guggenheim. Without surprise the title of the piece is Memory. I wasn’t expecting it and thought I knew everything about his work already. I had actually gone to see the other work in the museum. The piece has stayed with me as if I saw it yesterday. It’s a giant egg-shaped piece made of steel. There are a couple of positions one could see the piece from. In one view there was a hole cut out of the wall so you could peer inside. I was captured by the expanse of nothing inside the cavity of the piece. It was so dark you could only see a few feet into it. The other view allowed you to see the back side of the piece. Knowing that it was only twenty feet’ deep blew my mind.

6. What’s the weirdest thing you ever saw happen in a museum or gallery?

People not looking at the art during openings. Okay, maybe this is a pet peeve of mine. Yes, I know openings are for schmoozing, but no one would be there without the work. Turn around and look at it. And no, you’re not going to go back and look at it later.

7. What’s the worst piece of art you’ve ever made?

In grad school I put up work for a well-known Chicago gallerist who was visiting. He shows pretty conceptual work, so I was trying to be really cool. In one part of the installation I placed a wad of blue tape on the wall in front of an air vent. As the air moved through the vent it cause the tape to flicker slightly. He was really cool about it, but simply said “It’s not enough for me.”

8. What’s the last great book you read?
I recently read Edison’s Concrete Piano: Flying Tanks, Six-Nippled Sheep, Walk-on-Water Shoes, and 12 Other Flops from Great Inventors by Judy Wearing. It’s about all the worst inventions and ideas in history. It’s inspiring for me because it somehow allows me the freedom to mess up a lot and it will all be okay.

9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I love cookies. Especially the homemade variety.

10. What’s an idea for a work of art that you’ve thought about making but never will?

Simple things like small paintings or light things. Sometimes I’m jealous of artists that can drop their artwork in the mail for a show or install it in a few minutes by hammering in a nail. It seems like everything I do has so many levels of complexity….logistics installing it, days of painting or prepping before I can bring work in, renting trucks, building crates, etc. The irony is I can’t just make something simple because it doesn’t hold my interest.

About Tim:

Tim Eads is an artist living in Philadelphia. He earned his M.F.A. from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work has been featured most recently at the Museum of New Art in Detroit; Jolie Laide, and Pentimenti Galleries in Philadelphia; and the Arthouse at The Jones Center in Austin, TX, and the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington, DE. He has served as a visiting lecturer at Moore College of Art & Design, University of the Arts, Mercer County Community College and Penn State School of Visual Arts. Eads has also carried out residencies at RAIR (Recycled Artist-in-Residency) and FLUXspace.


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