Tim West was an artist who lived in Winslow, Arkansas the majority of his life. Although he held an art degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he lived much of his life as an outsider artist in many ways. Living on family land without running water or electricity, Tim road bicycles many places and utilized any art materials he could find or was given. Much of his art was stored in makeshift structures on his property, stored in abandoned cars and buses, or sometimes just simply left out in the elements. The state the art is in is the state in which it was found. Living in nature, it was strangely harmonious that Tim West would create work and then nature would take it's course and slowly discolor and eat away at portions of his sketches. His surreal landscapes stand in juxtoposition next to his scenes of human torture and captivity. Tim's works can be found in numerous private and museum collections including the Musuem of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
ARTIST STATEMENT WRITTEN SHORTLY BEFORE HIS DEATH: “Well, maybe four out of 100 will understand my art. For those four, they will be led by whatever force to find me and my art. It's a long walk to an unknown destination. I have no idea what I am doing ... I am ashamed of my obsession and beauty is impossible to define accurately. Still, I guess I know what I'm doing and compare it with what I could have done, but didn't.
I understand art; I don't understand art. Do we really know why we are alive or what death is? Who needs all the answers. Settle for a mystery. If words could say it all, who needs pictures?
My work is created on impulse. Symbols and shapes take form without a clear path. Rhythm, repetition and design take shape as I fill my drawings and sculptures with my surroundings ... trees, structures, bicycles. Life, eternity and death become my work. Why live, why die, why try?
Have fun trying to figure me out and I can perhaps explain it a little better if I try. For more, I will sound like a fool.
I'm 74 years old and don't have any good explanation for how I lived or why.”