When you think of the perfection of symmetry, what comes to mind? The way a sun sets across the straight line of a horizon, the face of a tiger with perfect proportions, the lines around her perfect almond shaped eyes and her triangular nose. Maybe you consider perfection the angles and structures of the Sydney Opera House or maybe the Contemporary Art Museum in Niteroi. Do you think of mathematics when you stare at a human face? The perfection of symmetry and proportion when you look at a flower or the repetitive patterns in nature as Alan Turing started to explore, when he connected the mathematics to nature. Tim Christie’s ‘MONOMOKO’ artworks series, explore the idea of symmetry and perfection, encapsulated in an Op art style combined with the elements of De Stijl. The stripes making up the artworks of human faces and animal’s faces, it’s abstract and monochrome, it is modern art at its ultimate. Originally conceptualised on his Macbook whilst on holiday in Scotland.
Now his artworks are meticulously painted, the metallics and colours creating a more 3D effect of what is almost 2D art. Initially when gazing at these works you don’t quite understand what you are seeing, when you realise that it is Anthropomorphic, dogs heads, cats or bulls on a human body wearing spectacles or just a straightforward artwork of two rams locking horns or the majesty of a Stag or a bull. Then there are the human faces.
Born in Wellington New Zealand, Tim enjoyed art from a young age and excelled in art at school. He attended Design School for four years majoring in visual communications. After graduating he landed his first job in an ad agency in Wellington, working for Red Rocks for two years which eventually became Ogilvy & Mather, before embarking on the trip of a lifetime. In his own words it was probably one of the best experiences of his life as he traveled overland through Northern Pakistan, the Himalayas, driving through deserts, visiting places like Nepal, Thailand, Syria, Iran and Egypt often travelling on the back of a pick up truck with the wind in his face breathing in the dust of the desert. With serious encounters along the way, including his passport, British visa and money being stolen by some friends he thought he had made whilst exploring Turkey, only to be kidnapped and robbed, scuppering his plans to work in London. Along with other close encounters whilst in Amsterdam, being held hostage by a two-faced landlord whilst his brother had to return with money. Tim, clarifies that he had been over confident after his travels and some of these confrontations humbled him. He decided to return home.
Once he was back in Wellington, he started work as a design specialist for Clemenger BBDO where he remained for six years before being head hunted by another ad agency. In 2008 during the financial crisis Tim was made redundant and he leapt at the opportunity to freelance full-time, to build his own client base and explore other opportunities. He developed a palour game ‘Flatulate’ after meeting the inventor at a dinner party. After much teary eyed laughter Tim knew she was on to something and so they established MHO games. When they created an online shop for the game he and the web developer saw a business opportunity and they set up storbie.com – an e-commerce platform for people to create their own online stores. However Tim’s journey as a fine artist only started to evolve around 2009, with a small exhibition on large canvases replicating the tire treads of mountain bikes, titled ‘Treadmarks’ the response led Tim to enjoy the idea of switching from the design world to Fine Art.
His latest epiphany came whilst traveling with his family on a five weeks break to Scotland, stopping over in Dubai and taking in the architectural culture of this extraordinary place, when he conceived MONOMOKO. He had been wrestling with the idea partly in his subconscious he explains, the idea of facial systematic and linear geometric styling. Refining the key characteristics of faces whether it be human or animal, and focus on shape. His first design of a polar bear materialised the abstract thinking into something tangible. Producing really large prints on canvas, he realised how the bigger they were the more abstract they became. He first exhibited at the New Zealand Art Show where he sold out on opening night and it snowballed from there. Sydney was the first place he displayed massive pieces, where people walked past utterly transfixed, at first none of them realising what they were looking at, until they moved back for the perspective. After 20 years in the design business, being thrown into a world doing something so personal and the freedom he enjoys, as well as his success, that he has created this incredible momentum. His work appearing at the Turner Barnes Gallery and currently with Castle Fine Art in Chester and then Castle Fine Art in Westfield Stratford London from this Friday 2-23 August 2019 as well as Art Fairs in the UK, Sydney, Wellington and Hong Kong.
Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst