Lunch #9: Tim Hussey Doesn’t Do Lunch

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(Top picture: Tim Hussey in his studio. Above picture: Tim & Elise Hussey in studio)

Abstract artist, Tim Hussey is too busy painting most days around noon, but he does do a good opening in his new studio, on way Upper King, to present his work. Tim is featured in the forthcoming book, Charleston, a Good Life, that I am doing with photographer, Ben Gately Williams. Tim is another “interesting person, doing interesting things, in an interesting place.” I recently met with Tim in his studio, which has a story unto itself. Prior to Hussey converting it to an artist’s space, for 30 years it was a neighborhood convenience store known as “The L’il Store.” While it also sold the usual grocery items, the store also carried beer and liquor, unlicensed to do so,  but nobody seemed to mind for three decades- that’s Charleston!

Tim grew up south of Broad, and his best childhood friend was Shepard Fairey, known to many as the creator of the Obama “Hope” poster. Tim attended Porter-Gaud, but his and Shepard’s real loves were skateboarding and surfing. Tim was, admittedly, not a very good student, but he excelled at art. So, when it came to apply for college, his art teacher at P-G encouraged him to submit the best portfolio he could assemble to the Rhode Island School of Design. Tim was accepted, and so was Fairey; off the two went.

After college, Hussey’s and Fairey’s paths diverged, but they stayed close friends. Tim headed to New York where he worked for MTV painting scenes behind the VJ’s, while on camera. He also learned graphic design, and moonlighted doing art direction for Harper’s Bazaar, GQ and other magazines. Tim says that he still does magazine art direction, as time permits, for a small group of loyal magazine clients. A local factoid for Tim was that he was the first art director, and worked on the first few issues of Garden & Gun.

Speaking with Tim, it appears that two milestone years stand out: 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Tim decided to make painting his priority. 2010 was a breakout year for Tim: he had his first gallery retrospective, a documentary film was made about his life and work, he turned forty, and he met his wife to be, Elise.

In 2012, Tim decided it was time for new professional challenges. It was time to leave the coddled world of Charleston, and head to Los Angeles, where the art scene is dynamic, challenging and competitive. He and Elise headed out to the West Coast, for what they thought would be a year, and stayed for three. Fortunately for Tim, his childhood friend, Shepard Fairey, was a celebrity in the L.A. art world, and helped Tim make excellent contacts. Now, Tim and Elise are back in Charleston, which they want to be there home base, but it is clear that they want to spend part of their lives, going forward, in L.A. and France.

Charleston, a Good Life, co-authored by photographer, Ben Gately Williams, and writer/editor, Ned Brown, is a book profiling “interesting Charlestonians (old and newer), doing interesting things in a wonderful place.” The book will be released in early 2017. Charleston, A Good Life,  will tell the story of why Charleston is a special place through over 50 environmental portraits of individuals; the first book about Charleston of its kind. What we are doing with the Charleston, A Good Life blog is telling you a bit about the people we are profiling, and other Charleston topics of interest.

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