Creative evolution is a gradual process. The change occurring over the span of a lifetime is often so subtle as to be imperceptible; and it's only when we're able to step back and survey the body of an artist's work that we get a true picture of his progression. It's not often that the process is marked by a distinct visual break, by a radical shift in philosophy that informs a dramatic aesthetic shift.
But Timo Elliott had an epiphany. He was working with artist Stella Waitzkin, whose mantra is 'All words are lie,' when it hit him: All imagery is deception. In that moment, Elliott abandoned the figurative work that had thus far defined his career and moved into the realm of abstraction.
He became transfixed with Wabi Sabi, a Japanese aesthetic that celebrates impermanence and imperfection. He moved to a cabin in Julian and began to contemplate the profundity and simplicity of nature. That's where the piece featured on this week's cover of CityBeat, titled 'Bumblebees and Violets Reflected on Coy Pond,' was created. What we see is actually only a fragment of the tempra motif, which is repeated on a scroll measuring 42 inches high and 8 feet across.
'I'm fascinated by the relativity between shapes,' Elliott says of 'Bumblebees'-'how they relate to one another by coming close, but never actually interacting.'
Given this sentiment, its perhaps fitting that Elliott (web.mac.com/timoelliott) was commissioned by Edison in 2006 to create a series of work for the company's corporate headquarters. 'That place was more than a corporate setting,' he explains. 'It was like walking into a bank vault. There are huge rows of metal cabinets everywhere; people don't make eye contact.'
There's a bit of cosmic irony in the fact that his work is there, hanging above the heads of people who are coming close, but never actually interacting.