The Painter on the Other Side of the Pond

by - 3:00 PM

One day in early November my mom yelled at me to look out of the window. This confused me. Not that my mom's never yelled at me before, but usually it's because I've been a pain in the ass. That day I couldn't think of any way I'd been a pain in the ass (and believe me, I know quite a few ways to be one), and the fact that she told me to look out of the window only made the situation even more confusing to me. So I went over to my parents' bedroom, where my mom's voice had come from, and looked out of the window. I didn't know what to expect. And what I saw was something I'd never, not in a million years, expected to see in my sleepy hometown: on the other side of the water behind out backyard was a street artists. Working on an enormous creepy clown piece on plywood. Right before my eyes.

I didn't know what to do. My mom told me to go over and talk to the guy the way she told me to make friends and be nice when I was in kindergarten. I, however, was basically shitting myself. Ever since my first street art tour in the Netherlands I'd been wanting to meet a street artist. Okay, I'd seen Lastplak at work, but I'd been too chicken to talk to the artists of my favorite crew. Talking to people I don't know really isn't one of my strengths. After a few minutes of being surprised and scared I grabbed my shoes and coat, crossed the bridge and went up to the guy. By then I'd already put two and two together and figured out which artist I was looking at: Timothy Kion.

I awkwardly introduced myself. Part of me was almost starstruck, the rest of me was panicking and thinking of something to say. I was a bit afraid of being considered a wannabe, but when Tim learned just how much I like street art he was very helpful and gave me a lot of good advice. Reading about painting techniques is nice and all, but this guy really knew what he was talking about. He started with illegal tags and pieces, but stopped with illegal painting when one of his friends died on the subway tracks while painting. 'Kinda takes the fun out of it,' he said to me dryly. Since then he's done a lot of commissioned work, which pays quite well. He's the artist who made my favorite piece in this old place: the one with the 'skyline' of my hometown.

Tim worked on the clown while we talked, which was awesome to see. I learn by watching others, so many of my questions about colors and techniques were answered that day. Slowly the clown got creepier and creepier as Tim told me where to get the best paint and which beginner's mistakes I should try to avoid. As it turns out, writing instructions on a whiteboard and spray painting a wall have more in common than you'd think, so I finally found a good use for my teaching experience.

By the time Tim was almost done painting I was internally buzzing with excitement. Not only has I gotten another live painting demonstration and a lot of great advice, but I'd also learned a lot about the street art scene in my hometown (which is now as dead as I assumed it'd be). The whole encounter may seem silly to some, but it meant a lot to me. I don't know how it took me so long to find out that a painter lives on the other side of the pond, but I'm glad I got to meet him. Talking to him made me realize just how much I love street art, and how much I love to write about all the big and small things that come with this fairly unknown topic. No matter how far out of the mainstream this rambly little post puts me, writing about these things is what I do and I love it.

x Envy

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4 Fellow Ramblers

  1. (baha.first, your little note on top of the comments section is too good)

    anway- great post! i love street art..

    1. Hahaha thank you. I came up with that note over three years ago and I'm still so proud of it, hahaha.
      And thanks again! Street art is amazing, isn't it?

  2. Oh how awesome! We sadly don't get any street artists in my little hometown, but when I lived in the city (Newcastle, North East England) there was always beautiful pieces popping up, many commissioned to brighten up places like the metroline. It's such a beautiful art form, I'd love to stand and watch someone at work.
    I agree with the artist though, illegal art is illegal for a's usually dangerous and it's just not worth it. Definitely takes the fun out of it!

    Danielle xo

    1. I've heard about the street art in Newcastle, they say it's from another world! I need to go there one day just for the art, because I'm currently running low on good street art in the Rotterdam area.
      Watching someone work is mesmerizing. Another reason why legal street art can be better, but I have to admit that illegal art has its perks too. I usually pick a really safe spot, like a lamp post in a quiet part of town. And finding a new piece that's been illegally put up gives me such a rush. Safety first though!


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