Interview with Tim Marsh

Tim Marsh is the very first artist that I actually gathered up the courage to approach and ask some questions whilst out and about taking photos of street art so it’s fitting that he is now the first person to give me some of his time for my first interview on No grey walls.

Hi Tim, how are you? Tell us a little about yourself, you are from Paris but based in Barcelona now right?
Well, i’m half Maltese, born and raised in Paris. Living between Barcelona and Paris right now. And willing to discover more places in this world!
How did it all start for you? Were you one of those kids always scribbling on notebooks at school?
Haha yeah pretty much. I never was very good at school. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with extreme sports, and loved drawing.
I was skating a lot, which has a lot to do with the Street Culture. I was drawing people doing tricks, mostly with rollerblading.
And one day, my parents bought me a graffiti book, which was a bible for every french graffiti artist at the time :  Kapital. It had it all. All the best french graffiti artists in one book.
In the extreme sports world, we had the concept of “crew” too, so i started inspiring myself from this book to find cool letters for our rollerblading crew back then. So my notebooks started filling up with graffitis instead of lessons.
The people in my class started asking me to write their names, sooo there wasn’t much space left for physics…
Are you only painting murals or are you also doing canvas work etc?
I paint pretty much everything I can. I paint a lot of canvases, murals, skate boards, snowboards, surf boards, pallets, stones, pieces of metal, etc.
It all started with notebooks, then walls. But then I started to think of a manner to link graffiti with extreme sports, so came the boards. But when you start, you never really can stop!
So everything that I find, and think “oh, this could be cool with paint on”, I take it home and paint it.
Where does your artistic inspiration come from? What first drew you (no pun intended) to the geometric style that you use?
Well, of course before I was painting more “Old School” stuff. Letters, outlines, bubbles. But always with bright colors. At that time, I was known as Jaz. But then, I wanted to add the notion of movement, fluidity in my paintings, inspired by extreme sports, breakdance, capoeira, with all the funky details and symbols from the era i grew up in – the 90’s. Then with time, it evolved, and i found my proper style.
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Do you have a plan in mind when you start a piece? Or do you like to look at the wall and the surroundings and take inspiration from there?

I never want to know what i’m going to paint. I much prefer coming to the spot, and let go. I find it much more interesting, and fun. When I was living at my parents, my mom had all these quotes in the toilets by famous people. One from Picasso always got my attention “If you know exactly what you are going to do, why do you even bother doing it?”

His quote always stayed in my mind.

It can be a problem sometimes, for events mostly, when the organizers ask me to make a sketch. The result rarely looks like the sketch, but so far they have always liked it!

For canvases, I know the theme, or the subject, the layout, but never the result. Discovering it when it’s finished sounds more fun to me.

With this in mind what do you find to be the most difficult part of the creative process? I’ve read other artists speak about the fear of the blank page/canvas, do you ever get this?

I never really had the “blank page syndrome”. I think that if I just start with something, ideas will come. Of course sometimes I end up looking at what I did and think “WOW, this sucks BIG time!” hahaha but then I let it rest, hours, days, months even until i find some way to fix it.

Do you have a favourite city or place to paint? Is there a dream city or country or wall even that you’d like to paint?

I don’t really have a favorite city to paint in, I haven’t travelled enough to have an opinion. Of course, coming from Paris and having painted quite a few walls in Barcelona, I can tell you i’d much rather paint a wall here in December than in freezing Paris! Hahaha.

But I guess i’ll have a better answer to that question in the future…

Regarding walls, the bigger the better. I am CRAVING to paint a whole building. To me, this would be a huge step, and comforting me in the idea of dropping everything to live off painting.

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Do you like to collaborate with other artists?

Of course I do! I love it! I really think collabs. bring new ideas, you always can learn from it. And it makes you know more the artist you make it with, who are always cool people. It brings a new energy to the painting you are doing, you can learn techniques from each other. And beers. It also brings beers. Hahaha.

Further than on walls, I love making collabs with brands. It allows you to bring ideas to life, to be able to have them in your day-to-day routine. I have a thing for wood, and worked on a few things with this beautiful material. And some cool new products are coming this way!

Something I really enjoy is hearing about is which artists inspired other artists. Which artists inspired you growing up and who’s work do you really like just now? And is there any artist you would love to work with?

Growing up with a graffiti book as a bible, of course I have heroes. he first one was Oedipe, now known as Alexöne. I loved his fluid shapes, that looked like calligraphy on walls. It was the first time i saw it, and I thought that this dude was the very first one doing something different.

Later i discovered the 9eme concept, a collective from France, and loved their work. they had such different styles in one “crew”. One that remains a hero to me is Mambo, whose work i still love! With the job I had in Paris, I got to meet a shit load of my childhood heroes, but never got to paint with him. He lives in L.A. now, which makes it more difficult. Flavien, if you hear me, I hope we’ll paint together one day! Haha

In Barcelona, I really love Ruben Sanchez’ work. Haven’t seen him paint any walls only for himself though… I hope one day i’ll get to chat with him a bit to know what kind of human he is!

I know you like to paint at Tres Xememies here in BCN but there are sometimes ‘issues’ with artists tagging finished pieces and even sometimes unfinished pieces just for kicks. What are your thoughts on the legals walls here in Barcelona?

Well, as a legal wall, it’s the game. You know the paintings are never going to stay for more than a few days.

I love this place. I love that in such a small place, every kind of people hang out. Rich, poor, white, black, yellow. No matter who you are you are welcome here. I love seeing new paintings there, and really don’t mind getting mine covered if the new one is good.

BUT yeah… Sometimes when i arrive to this spot, and see what some people made, it makes me want to cry. Or punch some faces. Growing in Paris as a graffiti painter, the first thing you learn is to respect the other painters. If you come to a place, and paint over something really cool, whereas there are some spots left, or shit stuff that can be covered, you know you’d better run, or be a kung-fu expert. I feel like this notion doesn’t really exist here. Which can be good in some ways, but makes people think they can do what they want. If they did that in Paris, they wouldn’t be able to paint anymore! Right now I am thinking of a kid name Corby, or something like that. He painted some sith over a stunning peace from Cobre, Dali eating an apple. I really wish for him that Cobre never finds him…

So yeah, this place is a kind of “Wall of fame”, but please, learn how to paint before covering up someone who spent hours doing something great. It’s just a matter of respect for the people who have the same passion as you.

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Just to speak about something different for a minute, tell us something about yourself that maybe not many people would know!

Haha… You might actually be the first one I tell this to here. I have been a Capoeira (a brasilian martial art) teacher for five years.

If you could be anyone or anything for a day who or what would you be?

Mmmm… Well right now i’m very busy being just me, and working my ass off to be able to live from what I love.

Do you have any upcoming shows or projects we should know about? Are you currently exhibiting your works anywhere?

Right now, I have a few canvases at the Galeria Artevistas, in the city center. Also in Hong Kong, with L’Epicerie Fine HK. I really want to thank Fabienne, and Baptiste, for believing in me and giving me the chance to show my paintings. The next event I can talk about is the Art Lover Ground, on October 14th in Barcelona, where I will be showing new pieces, and live painting.

There’s a LOT of cool things coming up in 2018, but can’t really talk about it now…

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?

Well, I really want to thank YOU for making the graffiti scene here so alive, chasing graffitis, getting to know what person is behind the paintings, sharing those paintings, making them seen by others, and giving me the chance to tell a bit of my story!

I’d like to take a moment to thank all those who believe in us, and support us however they can. Tatiana, my old folks, family, friends. Everything helps, and I am grateful for every attention I’ve been getting here in Barcelona.

Thank you so much for your time Tim, I look forward to seeing you at the Art Lover event in October.

Peace!

If you want to check out any more of Tim’s work you can check out his website Tim Marsh and his Instagram and also his exhibitions at artevistas gallery and L’Epicerie.

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