When A Love Of Animals And Art Collide

Timothy Chapman has been an animal lover all his life. And it was in his childhood years that he discovered his love of art while sitting in front of the television drawing creatures and monsters. But part of him wondered if it was possible to make a living as an artist.

Eventually, Timothy followed his love of wildlife into a career in biology. But as his work became more geared toward genetics and molecular chemistry, he missed the connection with animals and longed to paint. He knew in his heart his calling was art.

“If I didn’t have another idea in my whole life I would still be able to paint because I have old sketchbooks full of stuff that I have to do,” Timothy said. “And I love animals because they’re so strange and bizarre and funny and weird.”

These days, Timothy’s style is magical, whimsical and surreal. His intention is to channel levity to people’s lives by bringing to life creatures and concepts that are lighthearted and fun.

“People can look at giraffe…they know what it is and then they’re on to the next thing,” Timothy said. “I’d like to think that when I paint a giraffe with a different pattern or something, they’ll stop and think. I try to wake people up and make them smile and make them happy.”

Timothy is particularly drawn to natural history illustrations, especially those from the 14th and 15th centuries when artists took some creative liberties.

“They really didn’t get it right,” Timothy smiles. “These things have horns and wings when they shouldn’t. I think it’s hilarious!”

With his own art, he strikes the balance between staying true to certain aspects of biology and tweaking a subject’s evolution a bit. He also stretches his creativity when working on larger, more abstract pieces. He compares the process of abstract art to jazz, where there’s more call and response between the artist’s piece and how the viewer reacts.

Now in his fourth year showing at the Celebration of Fine Art, Timothy feeds off the energy and camaraderie among the artists.

“I’ve met so many friends,” Timothy said. “I just love it. You get to see people working in different mediums. It’s a good bunch of people.”

See more of Timothy’s story below: