Artist Spotlight: Tim Short

AB+L Radio blog sat down with local artist Tim Short recently to gather some insight to his work. Tim is an afrofuturistic oil painter here in Atlanta, gearing up for his first solo show this Friday, March 31,2017, at Tila studios in East Point, GA.


Tell us a little about yourself:

 Tim: I'm Tim Short. I was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia. I moved to Atlanta to study art at Georgia State in 2011 and I've been pursuing art professionally since I've graduated with my BFA in Visual Art and Design in 2015.  My main medium of choice is oil paint and I create pieces that vary in size, but my ambition fuels my desire to create larger more time-consuming works. My website is currently in the works, but I can be reached via phone at 706)358-2615, email at, and my IG @culturedstruggle.

How would you describe your work?

Tim: I'd describe my work as Afrofuturistic and highly imaginative.  I love creating visual narratives and I like to use extreme lighting to delve into conversations about Black bodies acting within policing social gazes. I also paint metaphorically, using symbols and figures to speak to larger dialectics surrounding Black experiences and masculinity. I just do what I feel.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Tim: Aesthetically, I'm mostly inspired by the music I listen to. I kinda see images or feel narratives when I listen to music so that's a strong driving force behind my work. When thinking of what I want to say with my work, I just look at many artists who are much further in their careers than I am and I try to create more in hopes that I can one day be at that level. Artists like Kerry James Marshall, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Jordan Casteel - those are artists who I try to look at so I have dynamic work in a way that's dialectically interesting and relevant to Black folks of varying experiences.

What is the biggest obstacle you face creatively?

 Tim: My biggest obstacle is remaining captivated and focused on finishing the projects I work on. I try to finish works one at a time and hundreds of hours can be spent on a single project so staying focused on that without being distracted, even by the desire to create something else, can get hectic.

What is the lasting impression you want to make on others with your work?

Tim: I mainly want to achieve a uniqueness and dynamism about my work that is unique to myself. When viewing the work, I just appreciate people feeling a way about how I convey emotion and narrative aesthetically. So basically:
I just want folks to feel compelled to feel or exude emotion in some way. A lot of my material is very dark and heavy so I would want people to feel that - to share in that intense, heavy experience like it's physically there and real.

 Why do you create?

 Tim: I create because that's really all I know how to do. I'm not much of an entrepreneur, but I experience these raw emotions and ideas and narratives that I somehow have to get out of my mind. If I can include progressive politics within those narratives that are honest to my experience and talk about my privilege and the violence that can accompany that privilege, I feel accomplished as an artist and human being.

What  do you think the role of an artist is in society? 

 Tim: I'm not sure about the role of an artist as an absolute because all of that is subjective and I could never bring myself to dictate how folks survive in oppressive conditions or handle their own trauma. All I feel I can speak on is my own narrative and story.
I try to create work that is honest to me for the consumption of my own folks or folks who I feel like I should be held accountable to, and that's Black folks.
So you know, my role is just trying to gain understanding into Black experiences  and talk about my place and privilege  in those experiences. I understand images to be loaded with messages already so I may as well try to create something worthwhile that can be used to combat oppression or make someone's life easier.

Does your work usually follow a theme? why or why not?

 Tim: It's difficult to get my work to follow a singular theme because I'm exposed to so many different forms of inspiration and my feelings can vary with the handling of that inspiration throughout my creative process. I try to maintain a progressive politics and ideation behind the works but as far as thematics, my work shifts constantly. 

What is your dream accomplishment for your art?

Tim: It's really difficult for me to set concrete goals for my work. I don't really focus on that much because my mind always gravitates to the imaginary realm of creation and that intuitive place of what could be.
Ideally, I feel so long as the work is being seen by Black audiences and taken seriously, I'm okay.
I hope to be able to generate far more income one day so it's easier for me to gather materials for my process and whatever but my mind mostly revolves around creating the work.