“…I love the Art Institute of Chicago, the MAM in Milwaukee, the Tate in London, Monet’s house, the Mayan pyramids in the Yucatán, Picasso’s Museum in Paris, but mostly I love the Nelson-Atkins. For me, it’s like going home from college on a winter vacation… It is home! A place where I am welcomed loved and expected to be haunting…”
Detail, Water Garden
Detail, ReTiRo: A Life Story
Tim Rowland, relaxing on the Porch
A day with an artist
When you’re ready for a romp around a new city, or just ready to see the old familiar in a new light, you can’t ask for a better day or experience than with an artist.
Ready for adventure? Always! Look at things from a different angle? Yup, pretty much everyday. Really, spend a day. Just one day with an artist. Whether you are an artist yourself or you have a friend or cousin or neighbor. Be silly. Let GO. Let that energy of being different, seeing different, doing things differently be okay and real and inspiring.
I went to art school and met fantastic weirdoes. We drowned ourselves in art history. We made music. Went on roadtrips. Sang in bars. Explored forests. Traveled. Taught each other true heart. We built a lifetime of friendship. These good folks changed me and continue to open my eyes today.
And the other day, I decided to spend some quality time with one of them.
Tim. Artists need natural light.
One of these influential and fun artists is Tim Rowland. Often called Timbarow or ReTiRo, Tim, like many other artists has a few names that we call him. By any name, the artist is the same. Tim is an inner city art teacher! How cool to share knowledge, teach, and inspire others. Way to go, Tim! And with Tim’s work, it doesn’t matter. It’s all-relevant, Dreamlike, fairy tales, fantasy, and fun. Spending a day with him opened my eyes to a city that I know well—and reminded me that it is yet discoverable!
Here is what we did and what I learned:
- 10am – photoshoot. So much FUN! Giant historic home, kids running around, coffee brewing, family exchanging good mornings. Super-high energy. Grand piano in the dining room; plinking keys. Fluffy dogs. Antiques. Summertime!
- 11am – wandered through Tim’s studio and gardens and outside on the porch where we chatted about Midwest life, adventures, art! Picked up my daughter. She was ready for adventure too.
- 12pm – went to the Thomas Hart Benton home and museum. What an amazing human he was! Spent his life making art, working hard, teaching, taking care of business. It was my first time seeing the home, which is part of our glorious National Parks, and Tim’s second time since his father took him as a child. It was a fond memory, I could tell. And a good one to add to my collection.
At Thomas Hart Benton’s House – Did you know THB invented harmonica tabs? Not me!
- 3pm – A Local Brewery – pit stop and howdy! Always time for smooches for my dearest favorite artist and brewer (my hubby, who makes some of the finest brews and art, and also a good friend of Tim’s – bro-hugs exchanged).
Tim and a shout out to Loo, my hubby (he draws and paints these lovable characters!)
- 4pm – a late lunch at a local cantina and dessert next door at a local panaderia (bakery) where we got ice cream, cookies, and a new experience for me: Mexican corn (elote) covered in some kind of buttery mayo cheesy goodness, I was stuffed but Tim swears by it’s power and yumm. I promise I’ll try it next time.
- 5pm – good byes and blessed by a great day with a great artist. What fun, frolicking around KC.
Tim in Thomas Hart Benton’s studio
Tim n Tom
What do you think when you see a Klimt? Or a Basquiat? Oil paint, glitter-gold, gorgeous figures, pattern, classically trained. Spray paint, pattern, female figures, distortion, large-scale small-scale, subway and street art. These styles and techniques come together in Tim’s work and are exaggerated when you step into Tim’s studio. You can instantly see Tim’s worldly influence from New Orleans to Paris, all the while paying serious homage to his KC roots.
The doors, the walls, ceiling: covered with collage, oil paints, pieces of old instruments (a cello!!!) and gorgeous repetitive patterns, beads, lights, wires. There is no end or beginning from where the paint drips on the floor, where the canvases are stacked, the chairs, or walls meet. Just a perfect 360° bubble of paint and pattern and sparkly gilded-gold awesome.
Detail Studio Door with Cello
From childhood, Tim has been influenced by his surroundings: his parents as his biggest influence, education as the foundation, and this city, Kansas City, as a nurturing home. As Tim puts it:
“…It is where I experienced life. I have been around the world, but really there is really no place like home. Kansas City can be as cruel as its weather, but wait five minutes and it will change. It’s a big city with a small town appeal. Just large enough to do incredible things but small enough to know everyone by name. It has a myriad of secret gardens and treasures. I had my first kiss here, my first ballgame, and my first art opening. It holds a sacred place in my heart. I went to school in the Northland. …I always saw the city beautiful [skyline] headed to school. The view inspired me. I moved to Midtown Kansas City in the early 2000’s after college graduation and seeing the world, I love it! It is my home.”
Aw, shucks, Tim. I couldn’t have said it better!
Autoportrait at age 26
See the cow? An homage to Tim’s childhood and our beloved “cow town”
Did you know Thomas Hart Benton was from Kansas City? (blogger connection: THB went to the School of the Art Institiute of Chicago. So did I. Then THB taught at the Kansas City Art Institute. So did I—kinda cool, eh?)
Do you know any artists? How have they changed your life?
I love hearing your comments and thoughts! Don’t forget to share this on Twitter, Like on FB, and Pin it! Much much love, love birds! Up next, the Kansas Love Bird team (that’s right team!) will be heading to the Kansas Flint Hills to document The KC Symphony for the annual Symphony in the Flint Hills. What an honor! Get ready for lush grandiose scenery, music, tents, wine, and lots of fun out on the range: We’re going to the PRAIRIE.