Meet, Barcelona based, creative artist Tim Marsh! A free spirited persona that creates funky walls depicting geometric patterns and lately many animals. Having emerged from a skateboard culture while steadily practicing Capoeira for years, his inspiring creativity has even defined trends for clothing brands. Enjoy our Interview with Tim Marsh and discover the mind behind the magic art.
-What would you like to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?
Right now, i would love a beer. We’re under lockdown here in Barcelona, and the supermarket close to my place doesn’t have any beers left…
-Introduce yourself to us – as if we had no idea who you were!
My name is Tim Marsh, i’m a french muralist and artist based in Barcelona, Spain. They call me the geometrical acrobat! Hahaha
– Where does your (tag) Artist name come from?
I don’t use my tag name anymore, it used to be Jaze. I got this name after listening to funky-jazz music while painting while my buddies were listening to gangsta rap…
-How do you define yourself and why? Artist? Street artist? Something else?
I’d rather call myself an artist and muralist. I don’t do much illegal stuff like trains of vandal letters now, and focus on making more quality walls, although they are not all legal…
– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
I’ve always been into the street culture. So when i was a kid and not at school, i was in the streets skating spots and skateparks, and when i was at school, i was filling up my notebooks with sketches. So later, when i started painting walls at 17, i had a lot of sketches ready to be painted!
When i was 20, there was no way you could make a living off graffiti. In fact, you had way more chances ending up in jail. So the closest legal job i could get was graphic designer. Which i did. But after a few years, i got really bored, and realized it wasn’t what i wanted in my life.
So i decided to drop everything, and focus on painting. I left paris, moved to barcelona, and painted like a man possessed. A wall and a canvas a week. People could not pretend they hadn’t seen my work. Some gave me a shot with commissioning a wall, and it worked well, and people started to call me more and more!
Today i am lucky to be able to live with what i love doing, and this is one of the very best feelings one can get.
-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Well this depends a lot on what i’m working on, and that’s one thing i love about what i do!
When i’m preparing a show or commissioned canvases, i’ll just take it easy and start painting on my terrace.
If i’m working on a wall, i’ll go there as early as possible to get it done as fast as i can.
And i sometimes wake up very early to catch a flight to go paint on the other side of the planet.
If i only did canvases, i’d get bored pretty fast. If i only did murals, i’d be exhausted all the time. I love the balance between all of this!
-Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art. To add one more sense to it, what music would you pick to accompany your art work?
It really depends on the mood!
Sometimes i’d go with some 70’s rock like pink floyd, Led Zep, or even Beatles, other days i’d got more with 90’s hip-hop like Tribe Called Quest or Beatnuts…
Today i’m listening to some Queen songs, and Some Batfunk & Spitfire, which is hip hop on old jazzy samples. You should check it out!
-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What inspires you and how does that end up in your art?
I’m inspired by pretty much everything that surrounds me.
But if i had to list a few, i grew up learning about the Jean de la Fontaine stories, who depicted our society through little stories with animals, this way he couldn’t be arrested, as they weren’t direct accusations. It’s a fine way to not make it so obvious, and make people think a bit more when they see a painting with an animal (which i do a lot).
Of course my childhood pop culture had a huge influence on my work too, and the visual codes of the 90’s too.
But i also like to see how something totally different from what i do can influence me. I try to keep discovering as much as i can. watching all kinds of movies, documentaries, exhibitions, discovering new kinds of music, architecture…
I really think the more you discover, the more you get inspired. and the more new things you can bring to your art.
-What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?
I usually hate the very beginning of a piece, when you’ve just finished sketching, and you more or less know what you’re going to do, and realize you still have so much work to do…
But my favorite part is when i know i’ve finished the main figures, and that i can start improvising around it! I love that feeling!
-Do you have any artist(s) you admire? Can you pinpoint what it is that makes them so special for you?
There’s a bunch of artists i admire. They are the ones who bring something new to muralism. I mean they all have a strong graffiti background, but applied something different to it.
I think of Ruben Sanchez, who is my absolute favorite in Barcelona, Shaka from Paris, Cenz from London, Eelco from Rotterdam, Ledania from Bogota, Sofles from Australia, Bao from Hong Kong… There’s a lot more, but i couldn’t write them all down!
-Which cities are the most inspiring for you as an artist?
Well I think Barcelona is a pretty good city to be inspired. Sea, sun, a pretty relaxed culture, people from all over the world come painting or living here…
But i really love discovering how very distant cities can be painted too.
Although i didn’t like the vibe there, i was amazed by how bombed is Bogota for example. Entire buildings, walls everywhere…
Hong Kong can be pretty inspiring too in a different way, although i could never live there. But all the architecture, old temples between skyscrapers, lights everywhere you look… It’s something that stays in your mind! When i’m there, i can feel overwhelmed pretty quick, but when i’m not there, i miss it!
-What other passions do you have apart from art?
I’ve been street skating for as long as i can remember and i still do it as soon as i have free time. I was pro at the beginning of the 2000’s, and have evolved with it. Actually, so many talented people come from this background, it’s incredible. I think It gave me more life lessons than school has ever done.
I also used to be a lot into capoeira, a Brazilian martial art. I’ve practiced it for something like 15 years, which influenced a lot my skating. I tried to blend the two, and came up with a few tricks i now see people do! it’s one of the best rewards possible!
-Do you have a special project that you hope to achieve some day?
Well, I’ve released an app Called Poble Zoo about 2 months ago, that goes with a pretty big and personal project i have going on in Barcelona. I’ve been painting a whole neighborhood called Poblenou for 2 years now, with a theme, the animal condition, as it’s close to the Zoo of Barcelona. So there’s a lot of animals painted there. They all look funky and happy, but when you look closer, there’s a deeper meaning to all of the paintings.
So the second step to this project has been to build an app (find links at end of article) to animate them using augmented reality! So basically, the app leads you to each painting, and bring each and everyone of them to life!
It was a real challenge to make it ourselves, with the help of my friend Astro Pirata, a talented graphic designer (and fellow street-skater), and couldn’t be more happy of the result!
As it is not a Legal project, i couldn’t get any help from any official association. So basically, the only way to be able to keep making it bigger, is by people getting the app, discovering the neighborhood by themselves, or ordering prints to animate their own walls.
So if ever you’re in Barcelona, you should try it! And if you’re not, there’s a way to get prints of the doors and to have them in your home!
-Tell us a bit more about your art; does it include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns? How has it evolved?
As I’ve mentioned above, being inspired by Jean de la Fontaine, i like to depict society problems using animals. This way, some people just see funky animals paintings, but others will think about what they could mean, and will find a whole new meaning to those paintings.
Also, growing up in the 80’s-90’s, i kept the geometrical patterns and colors. I first was painting a lot of abstract shapes inspired by those patterns, and then started to make them look like something we could recognize. Always using a lot of bright colors. I love bringing a lot of colors to the streets, it just brightens up our daily lives, i think!
– How long time does your art work, on walls, usually survive for?
It really depends on what and where i paint. I have paintings that i’ve done years ago that are still up, and paintings that have lasted less than a day in some Barcelona legal spots. Although i love the initiative of it, i try to not paint those legal walls anymore…
-What do you think, people feel or think of, when they see one of your works on the street?
This is one of the things i love witnessing. People’s reaction when they see my paintings. Some just see bright colors, or animals doing funny stuff. And others will think more and try to link the paintings to what has been going on in the news lately. And find the true meaning behind those paintings.
Some people have wrote me asking if their interpretation was right, and this is one of the best feelings you can get!
-What are your creative plans for the future?
Well I still have a lot to do with the Poble Zoo project. but as it’s a personal project, i fit it between paid projects.
As we’re all under lockdown right now, and have been painting canvases for a few months before, i am dying to go out and paint murals!
i’m starting to really want to travel again, as i was supposed to be in New Caledonia painting a wall right now. Which was cancelled because of Coronavirus.
So right now, what i want the most is to go painting new walls abroad again!
-Is there a little wish you have that not many people know about?
I’d like to paint more buildings.
I happen to paint them faster than lower murals, as the shapes are bigger. I love the challenge of painting big surfaces.
So painting a skyscraper is one of my dreams, and a challenge i really want to try!
-Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
Right now, as most of us have to be staying home, I hope people realize how culture in general is important to us.
Just imagine what you’d be doing without music, movies, books, arts…
So people need to realize how important it is to support Arts in general.
Support your local artists!
So many are struggling right now because of all the cancelled projects…
So buy some local art instead of ordering on Amazon and big corporations! You’ll go to heaven. Or wherever you want to go. For sure.
Thank you! It’s been great to get to know more about the mind and person behind such talented and inspiring works.
‘’I Support Street Art’’ team.
Tim Marsh Links:
Poble Zoo App: