Triple aspect The American sculpture and polymath shows us around not one but three fascinating workspaces…
If you’re an artist, you spend more time in your studio than anywhere else. Even when you don’t have to be there, somehow, there you are! It can be a place of troubling frustration, anger, depression and, of course, great joy.
My studio is a converted calf barn. When we moved to the farm it was just another outbuilding destined for storage. At the time I was working out of what would become our daughter’s bedroom. It was very cramped in there.
First, Studio A was completed. If you sculpt then you’ll soon produce lots of sculpture and you need a place to put them. I have two display cases in Studio A. I remember my first day in the studio: it felt cavernous. Too much room. Too much ceiling. But then I got used to it, and then I needed more room. And so we took the decision to set up Studio B.
Studio B is for mouldmaking, casting and cleaning resins. Working with silicone rubber and resins is a messy business that could account for the studio being in the state it’s in. I have two pressure pots: a 10-gallon model on the floor and a 2.5-gallon unit on the casting table. I use the smaller one constantly. The 10-gallon, although rarely used, is a life saver. I never use a vacuum chamber – it seems like a waste of time and money. You can’t cast with it, and a pressure pot will do the same job as a vacuum chamber: it’ll de-air the silicon rubber and produce better moulds with less work.
Studio C was a natural progression, in keeping each space function-specific. My paint set up is pretty basic. Ninety nine per cent of what I paint is brush work. I use cel vinyl paint, which can be purchased directly
from Cartoon Colours. There’s a really good chapter on paint application in the book Pop Sculpture, which I co-authored. Any paint work is always at the service of the piece. You can bury a good piece under an overly ambitious paint application. Conversely, you can uplift a poorly sculptured piece by redirection.
These days, it's hard to imagine not having all these spaces. Tim's 40-year career has seen him work on everything from album covers to special effects, but sculpture is his speciality. You can see more of his work at www.timbruckner.com.
Here’s my photo setup. To the left of the door is the album I did for Ray Charles’s Renaissance album. Next to this is Spider Jerusalem, an action figure I did for DC Direct, and the action figure of Ghost Rider, which I made for Toy Biz.
Studio C This is where I do all the paint work, photography, photo clean-up and computer work. It’s upstairs and has good natural light all day long. Far right is my more literal interpretation of Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase.
Pictured here are the five most important tools in this studio, aside from my two pressure pots. The microwave heats the moulds, to the right of that are the drill press and band saw. In front of the window is the belt sander and on the far right is the room temperature vulcanisation (RTV) silicone cradle. I built the cradle to support the heavy drum when I’m pouring out the RTV. It’s both a time saver and a back saver! The mannequin is great for working out costume details. I used it a lot when working on my Christmas Carol Collection. You can’t have too many books – until you don’t have any place to put them. The smaller pot is in a green metal bowl. It’s filled with sand. You always want to try and cast with the floor of the pot level. This setup enables me to easily adjust the pot.
Studio A Most of the 2D design work takes place at the drafting table. The workstation to the right of it is for mould construction, clay cutting and various and sundry other processes. The yellow mat area is where I’ll do full-figure clay-roughs that are too big to work on at desk level.