Tim Skirven was born in Philadelphia & raised in Virginia Beach where he spent most of his days skateboarding and drawing or reading behind the counter of a surf shop. Tim went on to James Madison University to obtain a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Art History. Since then, he's toured in a vegetable oil-powered school bus, moved to Richmond, VA and married his previous boss and now current business partner, Ali Croft. Skirven & Croft completes graphic design projects for small & medium sized businesses all over the world. Outside of that, Tim makes commercial illustrations, tattoos, and shows work around the US, most recently a group show in Philadelphia at Pink Slime Gallery. Tim's newest venture is tattooing and he's currently taking appointments at a private studio in Richmond. Tim's work is inspired by all things natural and supernatural and tends to tie itself back to nature in some way.
Community Supported Prints: Let me start by saying thanks for working with us on CSP's inaugural print edition. Couldn't think of anyone we'd rather have kick it off. One of the reasons we thought you'd be a good fit was your prior work with the medium, what is it that attracts you to screenprinting?
Tim Skirven: What originally attracted me to screen printing was the skateboard manufacturing process... multiple colors applied on top of each other, and as you’d skate the board, you could see the ink smear and chip away. It was always really attractive to me. Once I finally learned to print, I liked the physicality of it. It made me feel like I was really putting my mind body & soul into my art, which has primarily always been drawing -- which also lends itself to printing 😊 .
CSP: Lately you've been expanding your repertoire into making marks directly onto skin, did the transition to tattooing come about naturally?
TS: I toyed with the idea of tattooing years ago but it didn’t stick, and i’m glad it didn’t because timing is everything. This time around, the transition to tattooing does feel completely natural. With my background and daily practice in drawing, my hand already understands the motion. The tool & craft is something i’m going to be learning for a long time... it’s REALLY difficult compared to a pen. I’m stoked to have already made some successful tattoos and since I draw most every day, I’ve already got loads of “flash” for folks to look at. I also haven’t fully “transitioned” - i’m still making fine art and doing graphic design & illustration (though my focus is moving into tattoos).
CSP: You and your wife Ali have been traveling pretty extensively over the last few years, have you come across anything that's had a lasting impact on your art practice?
TS: So much of our traveling has influenced the art i’m making right now. Living minimally, a return to nature and just wanting to be outside, away from the computer, freaky animals, foreign money... for a year and a half I was basically a sponge to the world and I think that’s super important for anyone needing some new ideas. I was also a sponge to myself... it’s interesting as an “adult” to learn more about yourself. Life can sometimes put you into a point where you’re either uninterested or too busy to spend some time in your own head, asking yourself the hard questions. Go to somewhere freaky... even if the trip sucks and you end up with diarrhea in a weird hotel, you’ll probably find something to be inspired by.
CSP: Speaking of Ali, you two have been collaborating on some killer design work, notably for two of my favorite brews, Blanchard's, and The Veil. Has the collaborative process resulted in any unexpected changes to the way you work?
TS: For sure - Ali and I are a total yin-yang. I work impulsively and with a lot of emotion, and Ali works from a very practical & efficient place. She’s taught me not to work harder than I have to, and about the value of free time. Not totally unexpected, but I feel my art making process is more dialed in now since we’ve been together... I spend more time thinking about it before I make it, instead of wasting hours and stacks of paper to get through an idea. She pushes me to meditate and do yoga and slow down quite a bit. I can be a bit of a busy-body. As far as design goes - she’s got a great business-mind and it’s a real joy to get to work with her... she’s a no-bullshit kind of lady and it challenges me to be the best and most honest person I can be in my work and in my life.
CSP:Lastly, can you tell us a little about the Environmental Defense Fund and why you picked them to receive proceeds from this sale?
TS: EDF seemed like an obvious choice based on the image, but also with how much time Ali and I have spent traveling both domestically and internationally this past year, I’ve really been stuck on how to support the overall health of our environment. Climate change sucks, but so does world hunger, ocean pollution, etc. There is lots wrong and EDF stands up to the powers that be and is trying to wake them up. The human race has got the planet in a crock pot and pretty soon we’ll all be stew if we don’t clean up our act!