^ S. R. Sharp and Brooke Wise at the opening of I Won't Bite (2020) curated by Brooke Wise for Tom of Finland Foundation.

OTP Short-Forms: Timo Andersson

@andorssen

An interview with the Helsinki-based painter.

'I Won't Bite' for Tom of Finland Foundation, Paul McCarthy at the Hammer and working to support Planned Parenthood.

Whilst studying for a BFA at Parsons, Brooke Wise got hold of the event space at the Bowery Hotel and curated a show of work by her peers that would pave the way for a string of successful exhibitions in the years to come. After moving to the West Coast and quickly attracting the attention of LA’s art-world cognoscenti, Wise’s sharp eye for vibrant and quasi-absurd work by early and mid-career artists has been in high demand ever since.

In addition to her work for galleries and non-profit organisations, in 2018 Wise produced the first edition of her comedy short film festival 'Aloha From Hell'. Since its inception the festival has grown in size and ambition and, after partnering with Sexy Beast and Comedy Central for 'Aloha From Hell 3', the annual event is now held to raise proceeds for Planned Parenthood LA. 

 

Brooke Wise’s curatorial work includes: I Won’t Bite, Tom of Finland Foundation at Neue House (2020; group), King Dogs Never Grow Old, Diane Rosenstein Gallery (2019; group), A Cat’s Meow, Shrine & Sargent’s Daughters (2019; group) and Smothered Awake, Steve Turner (2018; solo show by George Rouy).

OTP What has your life been like recently?

TA Reading endless graphs, news stories and Twitter speculations about the coronavirus really wore me out, so I'm mostly just trying to relax by cooking and playing Minecraft.

I think I'll start going to the studio again in the coming days, just to slowly get things rolling again after a break.

The series I'm working on at the moment has taken me a couple of years to make, so a month's break doesn't really change things much, anyway.

^ I Won't Bite (2020) curated by Brooke Wise for Tom of Finland Foundation, installation view.

OTP What do you like to cook?

TA I really love all kinds of pasta dishes and salads, that's what I usually make.

I also got a slow cooker for Christmas last year, so I've been working on some stews as well. It's a magical device for sure.

My kitchen is tiny and there usually isn't enough room there to do many things at once.

OTP Did you grow up in Helsinki?

TA I was born in Jyväskylä, which is a city about 4 hours north from Helsinki. I didn't mind growing up there. It's very chill and beautiful, especially in the summer.

 

OTP What did your parents do for a living? What was your first job

TA My dad worked in IT and my mom as a museum assistant specializing in local culture history.

 

I didn't have an artistic upbringing per se, but I nonetheless grew up in a household that valued culture and knowledge. I was always encouraged to read books and newspapers and watch classic films, things like that.

 

My very first job was probably a short bit at a video rental store in 9th grade.

^ I Won't Bite (2020) curated by Brooke Wise for Tom of Finland Foundation, installation view.

OTP What kind of kid were you?

TA I was a pretty awkward kid and escaped a lot into books, comics and video games.

I've always had a big soft spot for all kinds of building simulator games, like the SimCity and Rollercoaster Tycoon series - anything that lets me just zone out and concentrate on tinkering with the game's world, like moving stones around in a Japanese zen garden.

 

I especially read vastly more books than I do now, which is a bit sad, I guess. I also got involved with different internet communities at a relatively young age.

OTP What time of day do you like to paint?

TA I'm somewhat a morning person but it's not really a time for painting for me.

 

I usually leave to the studio at around 2 in the afternoon - sometimes a bit earlier, but not often later than that. Then I'll intermittently work until around 9 or 10 in the evening. 

It really depends on what I'm working on. I live quite close to my studio, so it's fairly easy for me to just come and go as I please.

OTP How did you first get into painting?

TA I arrived to painting through drawing, and for a long time, I was pretty much trying to do drawings in a painting form.

 

This gave my earlier stuff a very corporeal, graphic look, but also made the works essentially feel like drawings in a different form which was quite restrictive and even a little stagnant. 

I was treading water for a long time with my earlier paintings, until I learned to technically work with the medium a bit better.

^ King Dogs Never Grow Old (2020) curated by Brooke Wise, installation view, courtesy of Diane Rosenstein Gallery.

OTP Were you always making abstract paintings? Who are some abstract painters you admire?

TA OI didn't really think about abstract painting or even contemporary art until about 10-12 years ago.

It wasn't until art school that I realized that the painterly language has the potential to address some of the things for which I've been - subconsciously - looking for an outlet all my life.

 

There's been a persistent drive in my life to go inwards towards imaginary worlds; painting is the most concise tool I've found that could bring some of these inner spaces closer to reality.

I've always liked Bridget Riley and Jeff Elrod. Someone like Jamian Juliano-Villani is a big inspiration, just by how uncompromising the subject matter of her work is.

OTP I have heard you talking about haptic visuality before, what role does that play in your work?

TA The idea of haptic visuality came up in a course once during my studies some years ago, and that really stuck with me. 

The ideas connected to it also seem connected to my paintings - even if I've understood it's a term that has been mostly used in film theory.

I don't think my work really has any sort of strong conceptual foundation, though, but that kind of stuff feels like a nice entry point for people who tend to look at things through a more theoretical lens.

OTP Has you style of painting been influenced by psychedelics?

TA TI've never done hallucinogenics. Other kinds of altered states, sure.

^ King Dogs Never Grow Old (2020) curated by Brooke Wise, installation view, courtesy of Diane Rosenstein Gallery.

OTP Do you have vivid dreams? Any recurring ones?

TA They're usually fairly vivid and memorable. The negative ones are usually related to traveling, catching a flight or a train, or desperately packing my suitcase in a hurry, situations I find extremely stressful.

 

In one of the more positive dreams I had, I was being chased in a wintery landscape, through some allotment gardens or wooden huts like that.

 

The atmosphere was tense, but the dream was more exciting than anything. I managed to outrun the people (?) chasing me, but the dream ended at a cliffhanger when I woke up.

 

Thankfully I was still in a sort of half-asleep state, so I was still able to wrap up the storyline in my head. Everyone has these kinds of chasing dreams, but I just explicitly remember it being fun, rather than nightmarish.

 

In another notable one I'm exploring a decrepit urban labyrinth, sort of like a surreal Kowloon Walled City, full of nooks and crannies and steep drops.

 

Everything is sort of rough and half-finished; there's heaps of junk in the narrow corridors, piles of wood lying around and pipes sticking out of walls. It's like the environment is being constructed around me.

 

This one doesn't have a storyline, but it doesn't really need one. The building complex usually turns out to be either an apartment building I used to live in or an art school. 

OTP What do you think would be an interesting question to end this interview with?

TA Who's my favorite character from the Simpsons (It's Lionel Hutz). 

See more from Timo Andersson:

@andorssen

www.timo.website

 

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