Maybe, This Christmas (Christmas 2016)

It’s been quite the year for me, dear readers.

As I reflect back on what has been accomplished this year at timotheories, I’m proud of all the new theories we’ve been able to bring to you, the friendships strengthened through opportunities of collaboration whether in monthly interviews, Cross Talk film discussion or the much anticipated Just ‘n Time Games (I swear it’s coming), and of course so much curating I can’t even believe it.

2017 looks to be even brighter, and as I personally wind down for a week of reflection, timed perfectly with the Christmas season, I can’t help but be inspired by the holidays friends.

Normally, I like to tell people that I’m not a large fan of Christmas, after all, it is a lot of effort for very little physical pay-off. But upon the start of my reflection, the mistake I make in writing and believing that, is that Christmas really is a SEASON of giving and goodwill, and I believe that most of us use this time to set aside our desires for recognition to share ourselves and provide something special to those we care about.

With that in mind, I’ve rewritten some Christmas lyrics into a little poem, capturing the intent of this realization for me. I can thank my girlfriend Mysticque for a lot of this inspiration, because she is a dedicated and giving individual, perhaps a bit sentimental too, which I use in a positive light as a robot coming off of his programming.

So this one is for you baby.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, all is calm. All is bright.

I don’t want a lot this Christmas. Just, like, the ones I used to know… You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear, voices singing “And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun. The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.” Way up in the sky, little lamb, do you see what I see? A star, a star, dancing in the night. O holy night! The stars are brightly shining.

Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

Please have snow and mistletoe. And presents by the tree… Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me.Oh, there’ll be no more sorrow, no grief and pain. and I’ll be happy, Christmas once again. This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special.

I really do believe in you, let’s see if you believe in me. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.

With that shared, timotheories always has been and always will be digital curating at heart, and you can’t have heart without art, creative cuties. I ask you to take some time, whether Christmas inspired or not, to reflect on your own year, consider what you’ve achieved, and set the bar a little higher for yourselves, never measuring against others, but against you, because you CAN achieve your dreams, and Christmas is a great reminder of why sharing with others is vital.

Happy holidays and I’ll see you in the new year, with a new plan, some new theories, and lots of he(art).

Tim!

How To Stay On Topic AND Be Topical (The Reading List)

Reading is cathartic, sharpens your mind, and expands your world. How it manages to do all of this is kind of amazing, but I’ve written about that before (see here, here, and here for recent examples), and it’s not really what this timely Thursday post is really about.

This entry is about another of my lifestyle goals as a cultivator of the arts.

You see friends, I’ve always been a lover of knowledge. Every personality test I’ve taken, every mentor I’ve had, and many of the compliments I have been given by generous humanly have usualy revolved around my intellect. I’ve spent thousands of hours of my life in thought and in the written word, so it kinda makes sense.

It’s a great comfort to me to read and I believe it is where a lot of my natural creativity lies. I’m very thankful for this gift and I intend to continue to use it to great effect. But I’ll be the first to admit, that creativity often comes from places other than self. Sure you can carry a creative idea through to it’s logical conclusion and exhaust it by repetition and personal exploration, but even more new ideas form through experience of the world.

Which is why I need to keep reading regularly, and read new things. As an artist, a curator of art and a practitioner of artist development, it’s my pleasure to share ideas with you dear readers. That means I need to find ideas in order to share them.

Buying a new album and film every week is a start, and participating in social media to build an empire is a good for discipline, but but I’ve always found that reading is the best way to spark ideas. Which is why I’ve decided to start The Reading List. It’s ambitious for sure, but it’s the only way I know how to flesh out a process, by dreaming big and digging in.

My goal for the rest of the year, and then for the rest of my life as I know it, is to read one book a month in a packet of categories. I’m going to start slow though.

To elaborate, I’ve grouped genres and topics, but will slowly expand outward until I am consuming at least 5 kinds of books a month. I already mentioned meta-reading, where I read a book, that I will also be writing about and how it relates to the act of reading, my relationship to the author I’m reading, and how my opinion of them and the work changes over time. I’m following this challenge concurrently with The Reading List to share some insights into the reading process and what I’ve learned from some wonderful authors.

And I’ve started with Ernest Hemingway. So let’s break down my crazy library sized idea for reading, and explore the possibilities and how it will benefit you, the readers of this blog.

I will read one book a month from the 5 groupings below, slowly expanding the number of books read so that I reach the point of 5 books a month. A book for each group:

  1. LIFE – Biographies/Art/Music
  2. LOVE – Classic Fiction/Non-Fiction/Graphic Novels
  3. LEARN – Business/Leadership/Self-Help
  4. LABEL – Philosophy/Sociology/Psychology
  5. LEET -The Internet

If I can get to the point where I read a book from each topic a month, I’ll be flying pretty high. You see, dear readers, if I can embrace the 5 L’s of LANGUAGE (my own idea), then I can contribute proper to your own education and personal growth in the age of the Internet – Hence the LEET grouping.

I think it’s a pretty neat way to keep myself accountable. But what do you think? I’m out of theories for the week, so share the post and leave me some feedback. Facebook and Twitter are most appreciated.

Tim!

timotheories presents Tim Kuefler (Allegory of the Collage series)

Well, I have finally done it. My real “identity” is out there.

I had to do this because I promised you a peek into my art practice going forward, and today I deliver, dear readers.

Now is the time of great reckoning for I’m putting up personal elements of myself for display and inspection, and potentially for sale as well. It wasn’t an easy decision, but if I am going to further refine and evolve this project of curating, creating, and collaborating, I need to inject myself into the mix.

Let’s go over my back story a bit more so before I open up the floor to some of my art.

I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art & Design from the University of Alberta in the spring of 2007. My major focuses during that time were painting, drawing, and sculpture. Pretty classic examples of fine art education. I didn’t always believe this, but I am very fortunate to have a university education and to have studied with professors that had invested their own art practices in both the modernist and post-modernist eras of art making. I believe this because it informed my own decisions about art.

You see dear readers, by dealing with two specific schools of thought constantly it either fueled or resulted in a great split in my mind and own practice about the very nature of art making. I began to produce work that was either conceptual or technical, and sometimes both. It felt rather like a struggle with divorcing parents, and as a child (student), I couldn’t possibly know which parent was the right one to pick (school of thought), so I did what I’ve always done in my life, I chose to do something different.

I made art for myself and specifically to both impress and disrupt my professors. This was almost ten years ago. And so I share with you an ongoing series of work I’ve been creating since my senior year of university, which has inspired paintings and drawings, some of which I will share later on in coming months.

At one point I called the series below, the Allegory of The Cave, because I was self-prescribing philosophy when I first started to deal with my issues of doubt and frustration at institution and with routine. Something which comes naturally for a lot of artists. #realtalk

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Almost ten years later, I have a blog that is gaining real traction thanks to readers like you, and I am working on community with artists of all walks of life. This blog serves as a platform for my vision of more accessible community across the arts, a soapbox for my theories and other artist theories on the arts, a theatre for collaboration, now a gallery for my own art, and eventually a lounge and studio for both art enthusiasts and artists. More on that last bit in future posts. Please hold me to it.

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So, I recently decided to change the title of the series to the Allegory of the Collage, because This series represents the complex narrative I am weaving for myself and my local community, by using material from local publications, with local characters and events that don’t have a distinct meaning in the image just yet, but an abstract and big-picture feeling. And frankly, because it is succinct in it’s purpose and as a metaphor for timotheories itself – to create art by combining different materials together with a solid backing.

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More importantly, creating art for the purpose of joining people and ideas together has always been important to me, and because I want art that looks good in my own home, I have an obligation to produce that which is interesting and entertaining. The discipline of writing 5 days a week, and producing a minimum of 2 videos a month is all related to the passion of creating to be at peace and to fulfil what often feels like a compulsion to share.

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It is very important to me that the work a produce be authentic and related to myself and what I experience in this life, so I always make work which ties back to that creed. I learned that lesson from a professor in my second year of university, and whether he truly believes it or was just lecturing, it’s solid advice.

This series is made up of text and pictures that are taken from local events, people, and ideas, and is naturally authentic for those reasons.

In sharing my work on my blog, I want to challenge others to make their own work better, to become full-fledged entrepreneurs in a time when we are entering back into cottage industry practices because of the access the internet provides to us on a global scale; an era of modern craft. And so I developed this post, to begin the process of adding my gallery of artwork into the blog in some capacity, eventually with piece titles, prices and everything, but I felt a visual introduction and artist statement was a good start for now.

If you are interested in commissions, prices of the work I’ve included in today’s post, or if you want more information about the series, please leave some comments below or email me at timotheories@outlook.com.

And of course, please follow me to get even more awesome content in the future. I interview visual artists, designers, musicians, actors, and other creative types every month. I also write reviews on film and music as they relate to my theory of film as the great narrative of our culture, and I always have some wisdom, events, and theories to share. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on Sunday with a new Cross Talk episode!

Tim!

Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé… Olé… Olé (Goal Setting)

In December of 2014, I wrote about a longstanding goal of mine and efforts I had made to set it up so I could eventually achieve it!

That goal was The Watch List.

I’ve referenced this goal a few times on this blog, because it’s a fun topic and seems a little silly, but mostly because it directly ties in with my bigger and longstanding goals of writing about the connections between pop culture, human behaviour, and living a successful life (which I’ve slowly been sharing with you, but will continue to build on as we go), I decided it was crucial to become a proper cinephile in order to contribute to the conversation.

Hence I went through the effort of visiting lists of the most popular as well as the most critically acclaimed movies ever made and committed to watch the best of the best.

The conditions I set up for myself were to sample from every film genre known to man, and use IMDB as a reference point for genres – 22 of them to be precise.

I removed movies that I had already seen from the lists, and created my own list to avoid duplicates. How I accomplished building this master list was by identifying all categories for each movie as I added it, that way when I would move on to another genre and look at the top 10% or top 25 movies if the genre was smaller, I didn’t add a movie twice or three times by accident.

Now The Watch List makes just a little bit more sense, right?

Today I want to share with you some developments in this project and a particular component of timotheories – Theatrical Tuesdays. Theatrical Tuesdays is my opportunity to either review a play or piece of theatre I’ve recently watched, a film which is currently in movie theatres or a movie that has been released on Digital HD, DVD and/or blu-ray.

I am choosing to do this for a few reasons.

  1. I want to stay on top of culture as it happens,
  2. It’s important to provide you with my perspective on it
  3. This forces me commit to the practice of viewing new content as it comes out, rather than just watching or purchasing what I am comfortable with when I feel like it

Some of you dear readers might think that this is an easy process and does not take any effort on my part – trust me when I tell you that it does. I have to commit to being available once a week within a certain window of time so that I buy the film (and often the album for Melodic Mondays), and then committing to a window of time to watch the film, and finally setting aside the time to write about the film.

This means I need to maintain discipline and say “no” to certain activities OR prepare posts well ahead of posting time so that I am consistently releasing these posts on schedule. As a consequence, my personal film collection grows by at least 1 film a week. Which is cool, but doesn’t necessarily guarantee I am watching a film that fits into those top rated lists, especially because the content on webistes like IMDB are curated over weeks of time and the top movies aren’t necessarily in said list exactly when they are released.

And this process also fights with my progress on The Watch List. Which is why I only watched a handful of movies from the list in 2015.

Another challenge I face with completing The Watch List is that I purchase blu-rays en masse during Boxing Day, Black Friday and during closeout sales or special events where movies are on sale. At those times I am buying releases I missed over the course of the year and movies I want to add to my collection.

With those types of purchases (bulk buys, not weekly review buys) I have decided to file the movies away once I’ve opened them and watched them. That way I’m not only collecting, I am also making use of my purchases. Because of this method of collecting, my collection is currently sitting at about 650 movies, and approximately 350 of those are blu-rays.

Now you are probably wondering how many movies I own but have yet to watch correct? 89 of them.

One week has already passed in 2016, which leaves me with another 51 weeks left to watch those 89 movies – if I want to stay ahead of my bulk purchasing habits and have fresh inventory for 2017. So that means I need to up my game.

But that’s not what today was about, today was about sharing with you what is going on. You’ll have to wait until Sunday to see how I’m going to address this issue.

What a tease, am I right? It is Timely Thursday after all! So leave some comments, tell me what your goals are for 2016, and how you are personally impacting the arts. I wanna hear what you have to say!

Until next time, I’m out of theories for now!

Tim!

Where The Art Is (The Google Cultural Institute)

You ever watch those movie trailers, posters or commericials which start off by saying “since the dawn of time…”? I find them cheesy too, dear readers. But I want to try it out one time okay?

Since the dawn of time, mankind has created artwork and stored it in precious places. In other words, for what seems like forever.

What’s forever, precious?

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You know, FOR-EV-ER? Eternity? Infinity? Time without end? Even you can comprehend THAT Gollum.

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You don’t believe me, well that’s fine. I love pulling out my art history cap every now and again. Just give me a minute here to get down to business and find some images and links to get this party started.

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This image was one of the first cave painting images I ever saw when I was doing my undergrad, at the time it was considered to be one of the oldest images ever made (approx. 32,000BC – 30,000BC).

According to this article, a new theory has cropped up. Humans having been making art for about 42,000 years, which when taken along with the theory of evolution, means that humans have been making art for even longer than we’ve been thinking about things. Which is amazing to me, because I’ve always considered art to be a language in and of itself.

That means that we need art more then we need literature and speech, it’s something that we all can understand and relate to, no matter what the oral or sign language we subscribe to. And it’s foundational to who we are. That’s right, sign language is not universal to all creeds and ethnicities.

So visual language is something we can all experience and relate to, and one which is not interpreted differently in other communication styles. It’s fascinating, really.

Also, while I haven’t read this academic paper on comics, linguistics and visual language, just yet – I did find an interesting point made pretty much at the start of the paper which helps with my argument.

Many authors of comics have metaphorically compared their writing process to that of language. Jack “King” Kirby, celebrated as one of the most influential artists of mainstream American comics, once commented, “I’ve been writing all along and I’ve been doing it in pictures” (Kirby, 1999). Similarly, Japan’s “God of Comics” Osamu Tezuka stated, “I don’t consider them pictures …In reality I’m not drawing. I’m writing a story with a unique type of symbol” (Schodt, 1983). Recently, in his introduction to McSweeny’s (Issue 13), modern comic artist Chris Ware stated overtly that, “Comics are not a genre, but a developing language.” Furthermore, several comic authors writing about their medium have described the properties of comics like a language. Will Eisner (1985) compared gestures and graphic symbols to a visual vocabulary, a sentiment echoed by Scott McCloud (1993), who also described the properties governing the sequence of panels as its “grammar.” Meanwhile, Mort Walker (1980), the artist of Beetle Bailey, has catalogued the graphic emblems and symbols used in comics in his facetious dictionary, The Lexicon of Comicana.

You see, we need visual art just as much as we need other languages and the fact that so many people discard this skill for themselves, their children, their students, and the younger generation is frightening to me.

I’m generalizing here, which I hate to do, but so often I hear stories from people that made art when they were young, and then gave it up. We cannot seem to find value in learning the right skills needed to draw accurately, and attribute it to an ability which only some humans can possess. That is false and limiting behaviour.

But today’s Wisdom Wednesday resource is going to get you back to your roots, so to speak.

Alright, I have a secret to share with you fine folks today. Well, I wish it was a secret, because this is one of those resources anyone with an internet connection has had access to since 2011 and which I cannot believe hasn’t shown up more often in Facebook newsfeeds, on blog posts, and in cultural events.

The Google Cultural Institute is an amazing achievement in digital curation and one which features artwork from around the world, archival exhibitions, and three-dimensional recreations of world heritage sites.

You can navigate this content through Art Project, Historic Moments, and World Wonders, all from your main navigation menu. What I find especially cool is that you can take virtual tours of over 40 different museums, whenever you want.

The search terms are incredible as well – collection, medium, event, place, person, media type, date. And did I mention the Discover feature? It lets you explore related topics at the push of a button. And of course can share your findings with friends too.

But that’s not the best part. As an artist, this gets me the most excited. You can save your favourite items and create your own gallery.

Now tell me that that is not cool. Ha, I don’t believe you! Tell me what you really think! Leave some comments, share some thoughts, and I’ll catch you tomorrow for something timely.

Tim!