Tim West's disappearing outsider art environment
While searching for outsider art in Arkansas, I stumbled across Tim West, pictured in photos like a hobo riding junk bikes.
He lived by a creek near a road in a homemade shack with a light bulb, a stove, cats, a pile of bulky trash, and his art.
Over the years, West would draw or he would build sculptures out of bike parts, cement and all sorts of things that probably ended up in the ditch.
In the late 2000s, photographer Diana Hausum drove through the hinterlands, looking for interesting photographic objects. Not far from the settlement of Winslow, AR, she saw a fence made of bicycles, brightly painted, surrounded by sculptures and trash.(c) Google Streetview
Hausum left a note with her phone number at the entrance, asking whoever lives out there to call her back. Tim West got back to her and invited her in. With that, she had found her photo subject.
Tim West and Hausum became friends, and she documented his last years in photos 1 and a short film 2. Tim had entire shows of work in galleries in Little Rock and Fayetteville. Not that it was too unusual, Tim had a Masters of Fine Arts and works in collections of world-renowned galleries. Unfortunately, West, a native of the hinterlands, couldn't handle city life after his college years, got into fights frequently, became an alcoholic for 15 years, and just turned out to be incompatible with society in general. So he moved back to the wilderness and drew only for himself and built sculptures.
His open-air studio on the side of the road can still be visited. On the hillside, you can see the triangular hood with the painted letters "TIM WEST." Right by the road stands what looks like a dolmen, a large stone with various leather belts strapped around it. Smaller objects, probably left by visitors, are deposited next to and behind it.
Then there is a bicycle frame with a shovel, rims, and large cement chunks with pieces of metal and wood sticking out of them. All parts of installations that the weather has destroyed over the years
Eventually, his outdoor gallery will be completely gone. His drawings and some of his small sculptures have been saved and are in galleries or collections.
In the Westland documentary, you get insight into where he worked and how he lived. West built three simple houses in the area. One must have been destroyed by fire. The shacks and the trash he left behind are still there. The land belongs to relatives, who also look after it from time to time.
A fascinating figure.
Westland und other short documentaries
We had the opportunity to see Tim West's graphic work at the M2 Gallery in Little Rock, AR. This was quite revealing as we got a glimpse into his world, which consisted partly of women tied up and partly of landscape paintings.
- Tim & Diana - Arkansas Life (archived) There are secrets in the hills. A population of people and creatures who’ve chosen to live out their days in obscurity, well removed from both beaten path and road less traveled—people like the late a…
- Tim West Story Far From Black and White | WCObserver Tim West Story Far From Black and White |
- A Louvre in the Ozarks: The Life And Art Of Tim West (archived) Innocence ; photograph of Tim West by Diana Michelle Hausam By Michael Luster Bare feet and bicycle wheels transported artist Tim ...
- Outsider Art: Tim West to Be Featured at Fayetteville Underground – The Free Weekly
- Enlightened art hidden in backwoods Arkansas (archived)
- Tamed by the wild WINSLOW, Ark. - Artist Tim West had to retreat into the wild to live a more tame life.
- Tim west art statement
- Diana Michelle Hausam's Life of A Artist Theme Fine Art B&W photographs.
- Westland-The-Film This short is FREE on YouTube.com. Watch art being done by Tim. RIP Tim West: July 7, 1937 – April 2, 2012. There will be a memorial art show for Tim West at Teatro Scarpino on Thursday, June 28th fro…
- Westland Tim West was a reclusive, college-educated artist from Winslow, Ark., who produced unique art for 60 years. Tim West was a reclusive, college-educated artist from Winslow, Ark., who produced unique ar…
- @weather_daddy - Nickybob - The #TimWest kingdom remains intact The #TimWest kingdom remains intact 15210 Sunset Rd 15210 Sunset Rd, Winslow, AR 72959 / 35.8126499,-94.1005881