Instagram: @timgrahamart

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I was born in New York City – both my parents had lived there their entire lives. When I was three, they moved the family to Cape Cod, which was a great place to grow up – the Cape is filled with creative, unique people. I always drew as a kid and just never stopped, probably because my parents (a photographer and a weaver) were both so encouraging of creativity.


2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I’m interested in heavy lines and bright colors for the most part. I like to approach the point of irreducibility, or finding the simplest way to capture an expression or character. It’s sci-fi plus comic books plus Keith Haring maybe?

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Pen and ink are great – you can get a great variety of strokes from dip-pen nibs. Brush and ink are good, too. It’s tough to control, though! I also like drawing with Sharpies, because you get these really dense, thick lines. I find Sharpies useful to avoid getting bogged down in detail. It makes you choose your lines carefully.

4. What is your artistic process like?

I draw all the time, whether it’s in a sketchbook or on scraps of paper. Generally, I don’t have a concept, to begin with – I just draw until something appeals to me. This has been said often, but it’s true: You have to make a lot of garbage. You’ve got to purge all these bad ideas and lousy drawings and eventually if you don’t give up, you’ll get to the good stuff. Sometimes a quick sketch of some creature or character will suggest a whole scene or environment for them to exist in. I’ll take elements from sketches and do a pencil drawing of a scene. Then I’ll ink with Sharpie or pen/brush and India ink. I’ll either color it with watercolour or scan the inks and color them in Photoshop (which is how a lot of comic book art is done these days). Sometimes I’ll use a real photo (color-manipulated) for a background. Occasionally, I’ll produce something entirely within Illustrator, especially if it’s a very geometric figure like a robot.

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

I’m inspired by comic artists like Jim Woodring, Jack Kirby and Moebius. Pop culture from the 80s like He-Man, Garbage Pail Kids, M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and NES games were huge to me in my formative years and still have some influence on me. I also greatly admire the artists Philip Guston and Robert Rauschenberg. And sci-fi/horror films such as The Thing, Alien and the films of David Cronenberg.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art gives me a little bit of direction in life. It’s also a beneficial distraction: I always like to have a project (or several) going that I can focus on and think about, which helps shove nonsense that’s not worth thinking about out of the way. And art can form connections between people (which is useful when you’re a bit socially inept). It’s hard to say how art changes my view of the world – but I guess if I weren’t involved in making and appreciating art, the world would seem a lot smaller and less interesting.


7. Where did you study?

I got a BFA in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’d like to be in a decent-sized house, with room for a proper art studio and an area to set up my musical equipment. Right now, my girlfriend and I live in a slightly-too-small apartment. It’s tough to work on large projects or to have several projects going at once as we don’t have space. Having an actual studio space would be awesome (wouldn’t it be great to have a nice, big drafting table?). I hope to do some comics in the next few years. And I want a cat.

9. What about in ten?

In ten years, I expect to be hiding out in subterranean tunnels along with my fellow mole-people while humanity is being hunted to extinction on the surface by renegade AI which has taken over the world.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

I just want to have fun with it, and maybe get a little extra income from selling stickers or prints or doing a commission here and there. That being said, I’d still draw even if there weren’t an audience for it. The process can be meditative, and I enjoy the sense of accomplishment from finishing something I’m proud of.


11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I can’t think of anything that beats pizza. It’s incredibly versatile. JalapeΓ±o pizza is my favorite.

12. Favourite book?

That’s a tough one. I do love to read and favorites change over time. One favorite that I would like to revisit is C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet. It’s a bizarre sci-fi existential adventure. The truly alien world he created in that book really stuck with me. I just finished listening to (that counts, right?) Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan, which was fantastic.

13. Favourite genre of music?

Post-punk is my go-to genre. I love those bands from the late 70s and early 80s who captured the energy of punk and experimented with it, developing it into a more melodic, song-based genre. Some favorites from that era are Wire, Mission of Burma, The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, Sad Lovers & Giants, The Fall and The Sound.

14. What are your hobbies?

Is napping a hobby? I also like to play music. I haven’t been in a band in a couple of years, which is something I’d like to rectify soon. But until that happens, I like to mess around with drum machines and loop pedals to build really dense rhythms and texture.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Sometimes I wish I’d studied science. Maybe if I weren’t an artist I’d be a biologist or paleontologist. Or maybe a writer – but almost everyone thinks they have a novel in them, right?