We had the good fortune of connecting with Timothy Wilson Hoey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Timothy, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I grew up in an “unfunctional functional’ home. It was weird, early 70s, single mom, lots of folks visiting thru the house. Leftover hippies, artists, and all the while my mother was getting her teacher certificate so we had a more traditional flow of people thru as well. My own father was a vetrinarian and I was expected to be 3rd generation vet following him. All that led to this huge mix of influences, and never quite knowing where to fit in. When I was first introduced to punk rock at 12 years old (1980), the variety and mix of the scene, music styles and art, particularly in a small town like Victoria, gave me a place where i never had to conform to one established norm. This completely inspired my creative outlook, and my inability to master a musical instrument pushed me to grab a brush, and paint to express what was going on. That scene also had a DIY (do it yourself) attitude, relying on no rules, and not to wait for permission. I had my first solo show at 17, it was mediocre, but I did it, and continued to have at least one solo exhibit of some kind every year since. I even ended up in Trafalgar Square having an exhibit in a tent on the steps of the National Gallery. In hindsight, getting there was a blur, but you just do it. Waiting for proper channels, or an invitation rarely happens, and if someone asks you to do a show, or a commission, say ‘yes’.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I was just graduating high school, an artist friend of the family who had already established their career said to me. “don’t be so arrogant you wont flip a hamburger”. It was advice I took to heart. No one needs to buy art, so to be a starving artist just means you’re not hitting a market and until you do, work another job. Be a pirate, work, take your paycheck and let it subsidize the artist you want to be. Nothing is easy but if you put in the work, (I still paint at least 4-8 hours everyday), eventually by determination or design, you’ll end up with some sort of reward for the work you do. It’s never easy, but it’s way tougher if you’re hungry.
I’ve worked enough retail jobs to know that a gallery is a ‘store’. They have overhead costs, and requirements, and whatever they take as a commission is reasonable. You have to establish a relationship, and trust they know their market. You are simply giving them a product, and have to trust they know what they can sell. Ive seen so many artists sour their relationship with a gallery because they blamed the gallery for not being able to sell the work the artist sent. Timing, subject and execution of the work are the real reasons work sells or not. Ted Godwin once said to me, sales are easy if you remember, ‘a F%*!ing good painting always get’s a F%*!ing good price as long as it’s F%*!ing good” Ted was great and would come into the art store I worked at in Calgary. He was a Canadian painting legend who still continually painted, was willing to make his own supplies, (I still have his damar varnish recipe) and gave great art advice like a Trucker at a rest stop.
Everyday I’m grateful to have finally hit a point where people appreciate my work enough to part with money to have it. I never take this for granted, as at anytime, it could reside, like the tide. You can’t escape yearly increases in the art world. Theres so many factors. Try to create as many revenue streams as you can, galleries, agents and online, but be fair and work hard to make sure they aren’t competing with each other, and you are supporting and rewarding them all to the best of your ability. If you are an artist with a gallery and a client contacts you saying, I saw your work at (gallery), then that sale should go thru that gallery, even if it’s a commission. The gallery was the one who promoted you and got you that client, so don’t squeeze them out of a few bucks. That stuff will haunt you later.
If history says anything about me, I hope it’s simply, he had a work ethic and painted a lot.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Living in Victoria means I’m on a great chunk of land. Beaches, forests, lakes and quiet country roads are minutes away in any direction. Victoria also has some outstanding restaurants. My favourite go to is Ferris Grill during the daytime, and Ferris Upstairs, which is a little fancier at night. the city has a hugely supportive restaurant and brew pub community so you can’t go wrong. It’s a great city just to walk around as there is also a variety of independent stores and galleries. A short road trip, launches you to Tofino, but that’s the most well know of Vancouver Island’s beautiful spots. Although, I’m a home body, so I’ll sometimes just sit in my own backyard witht eh cat and the chickens.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s been a few mentors, and people who have inspired me, my ‘adopted’ dad, Eric Rhode, an amazing painter in his own right, but also hugely knowledgable about a huge range of subjects, engineering, history, antiques with a farmer’s work ethic, everyday he’s making something or learning something new. When I was a teen, Iooked up to urban artists like 12 Midnight out of Vancouver, and Flag from Victoria. I always considered “Flag’ to be like a big brother. I was the small dog trying to keep up but it pushed that work ethic.
Portrait by Candis Hoey