The Squash Blossom is proud to feature two Colorado Springs artists at the first Old Colorado City ArtWalk of 2018! Timothy Nimmo and Phil Lear will be doing demonstrations of their artwork. ArtWalk will be held Friday, April 6 from 5-8 PM.
We would like to welcome a sculptor new to our gallery, Timothy Nimmo, at this ArtWalk. If asked to describe his work in one word, he chooses “transition.” One of his main sources of inspiration is the artwork of ancient Scythians. This interest started when watching a documentary in the 90s and seeing an image of an ancient Scythian design. At the time, it was the oldest known tattoo discovered, at 2,500 years old. He kept trying to recreate the design, but felt that nothing quite captured the spirit of the original piece. He met an expert who said the piece resembled a creation myth, like it was a sky god transforming from the spirit world to the physical world. His work focuses on the portrait of animals’ spirits and the conceptual ideas of transition. He has a BFA in sculpture and painting with a minor in art history from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. Studying art history gave him many of his inspirations for his later works. He cites a quote from a friend, “There are no truly original ideas, you just forget where you got your inspiration from,” and tries to pay homage to the unknown artists who created these ancient pieces. In hindsight, he wishes he had spent less time on the Western Renaissance and began to study the works of ancient peoples like the Scythians, Celts, and Babylonians earlier.
One of Nimmo’s most popular pieces is called, “Constellation,” a bronze deer with fresh water pearls. When fellow artists challenged his use of fresh water pearls in a bronze sculpture, he looked to Picasso for inspiration, as he used whatever media, best expressed the idea. Looking at the Colorado night sky one night, he tried to find constellations and decided he should just make his own. Using the pearls to map out constellations on the bronze deer, he created a masterpiece. The first one sold off of his photography desk, before he even put it on his website, when his photographer’s wife fell in love with it and bought it on the spot. It has sold faster than he can display it and already a third of the collection has sold. He plans to continue using different stones, when realizing that the stars have multiple colors like red, blue, and silver. With the inspiration of a friend who encouraged him to try African themes, he is working on an elephant with rubies, sapphires, and pearls, as another constellation piece. He plans to bring it to ArtWalk. Other fascinating works are his fragment and artifact pieces. Recovering from surgery complications and unable to do labor-intensive work, Nimmo attended an Egyptian exhibition in Denver. He started wondering what his pieces would look like in 2,000 or 3,000 years and realized that a fragment of his work might be the only piece discovered of his era. He froze a mold and shattered it, creating pieces of ram horns and other artifacts. One piece that has provided strong inspiration is a cat idol found in a Scythian tomb. Though the meaning is now lost, he was intrigued by what that symbol must have held for a priest, shaman, or religious believer. He tries to explore that meaning of spirit in his pieces.
We are happy to welcome back the prolific painter Phil Lear. Lear is a well-established painter in Colorado Springs, with his work on display at The Rabbit Hole restaurant, Glen Eyrie Conference Center, Bonny and Read, and Wyndham Grand Hotel. He has painted in many genres and likes to have an illustrative quality, where all the pieces tie in together. Lear’s paintings are known for their poetic qualities, with brushstrokes and style set to harmonize with the character of his paintings. He describes his paintings as having a narrative quality. Lear occasionally teaches painting and one of the exercises he has his students do is create portraits with a goal of completing the painting in under one hundred brush strokes. He also engages in this practice and in the corner of his portrait, he writes the number of strokes it took him to complete the portrait. Born in Ontario, Canada, Lear moved to the United States at the age of fifteen. He attended Pensacola Christian College’s Commercial Art Program and discovered his love of Renaissance and Late-Victorian Era paintings. Upon college graduation, he spent six months in Switzerland, calls his time in the country impressionable, and remembers hiking near the Alps. He has lived in Colorado Springs since and continues to impact the art scene in the Springs. Join us during April’s ArtWalk to watch Lear’s creative process.