So who am i !
See where you can relate to some of my path so far!
Let me start somewhere simple, my full name is Timothy James Burgess, born in a small town called Taunton, Somerset (UK) but was originally given the surname Howel.
I later grew up in another small town called Sherborne. Untill I was old enough to leave home.
As a young child I was going through some difficult times in my life, the breakdown of my mother and fathers marriage. I was 5 years of age and this deeply affected me, not just emotionally but spiritually too. This is when I began my focus, to just create. My primary school constantly supplied art materials to allow me to explore, along with my late grandfather who taught me Still Life drawing and how to draw historic buildings close to where he lived.
Later at the age of 8 there was this man that took my mother’s heart, a big gentle giant, with an enormous heart. Funny and inspirational, he was to become my role model, and my stepfather.
So, after feeling resentful – as up to this point I had rarely seen my natural father and still going through many issues, to the point where I was sleepwalking and bed wetting up to at least the age of 7.
Moving on later with my life, my mother married this man, and he became such an importantfigure in my life that I changed my surname to carry his. He became my Dad, and his morals and principles became the foundations of who I am.
During my teenage years I was somewhat rebellious as most, yet I still continued to practice my art. I met a fellow artistic friend and we were always comparing each other’s work, copying album artwork or comics, making up our own, so on and so forth. We are still friends to this day doing the same thing, although both our lives turned in different paths.
At 17 years of age I made the choice to join the army, and at the age of 18 I enlisted into the Coldstream guards, where at most things I flourished in, but hand on heart I was rubbish when it came to endurance work. However I did stick at it for my medium service and visited countries such as Jamaica, Canada, and north America.
Then I moved to London, this was a start of another dark time in my life. At first it all seemed to be fine on the surface. I had a Swedish girlfriend, I was surrounded by friends or so I thought, and I had a well paid job, notice however, that my art took a back seat.
So this happened.
My girlfriend cheated on me with another person who I thought was a friend of mine, which resulted in me becoming heavily dependent on alcohol and losing my job. But fortunately, I had a good network of friends around me. They held me up for a short while, and ironically I began a career in hospitality.
All this in just 6 months.
I knew I needed to leave London if not for definite but I needed to heal to some degree.
I found a live in position based in the Cotswolds and they were looking for an assistant manager.
This position did save me from self destruction really. I became good friends with the manager and the two chefs, to the point it felt that we were all going through something together. My manager told me after, he noticed there was something wrong, I had this drive to be consistently liked, but yet scared to put myself out there.
He got me to open up , which was something I had never done before. I told him of the darker side I experienced while in the army, and that of my life in London. I drank to be accepted. Because it was normal for me, and the darker side that I witnessed in the army wasn’t that of the battle field, I tried to avoid conflict as much as possible when I was there but I was bullied, constantly harassed and put down. I was told that I was never and would never be good enough. I had no control, I was going through a period of rejection, and felt somewhat isolated. Opening up about my mental state was a relief and after some time, around 6 more months I felt I could go back to my life in London. This was over in a matter of weeks, I found work, which was live in and I was rejected yet again. I lost the position by not seeing eye to eye with the manager at the time and my life turned at this point.
So, there I was in the middle of London, one bag, homeless and only some very small change and very minimal charge on my mobile at the time. I had hit what I thought was my rock bottom,
I made my way to the nearest phone box, I was to make one phone call, this was to my parents,
and it wasn’t to be too long before my mother put a rescue plan in to force, so to speak.
She got hold of my best friend who was living in Bath at the time, and then she also called my sister.
My friend walked out on his job, said he had to go as it was an emergency, left for London, werehe had never been except to visit, so he started the search. I waited at a landmark and he pickedme up, he then drove directly to my sisters, dropped me off then went back to work in bath.
This I thought was true friendship that I should always cherish, with both hands.
I was now sleeping on a sofa or in spare rooms, finding little work where I could and just coasted.
It was time to lay things to rest, I let go of what I thought where friends in London, and lost all contact. I needed a new chapter and a new slate. I also decided to lay to rest or bring to a head some issues I had with my past, the main one to start with was the none relationship I had with my natural father. I located him after not seeing him at this point for 19 years.
I found that it was a good thing to do even though in his words he ‘knew he could never be a father to me as he had lost that right’, but he could be a good friend, and he stuck to his word tillhis death around 8 years later.
I then made my move to a town called western super mare, so that I was close to my support network of friends and family and to find work.
Through my work as a security officer happy times where emerging, I met my now wife, who is someone who shares and knows me so well, to some degree better than I know myself.
I was at a new normal and a beginning of yet another chapter, it was apparent that I still had issues with my past though. I moved to Bristol where I felt I had no true direction and so it began that I was jumping form employer to employer, and set out a path of running and managing my own bars. This was a devastating move for me because I would slip into drinking heavy again, wanting to be accepted. And the fear of rejection to the point were I wasn’t an alcoholic as such but reaching for a self destruct button before anyone else hit it for me.
I hit rock bottom mentally in just 6 months from the start of this adventure in hospitality and began seeking help from doctors. I was given one to one with a mental health therapist. Who I told my story to, she asked one thing to me and this changed my life.
This question was ‘what activity did I enjoy in my life before all this whirlwind started?’ my reply was that I enjoyed drawing and creating, so she suggested that I should enroll into an art course at college and that there was funding available for me.
Now at this time I said this. Some people in my life saved me from completely breaking down, the next person saved my creative soul, so to speak.
She was my tutor and mentor at college, I worked really hard putting a really poor stereotypical portfolio together. She seen something in that heap of rubbish and nurtured me so incredibly well that in just 2 years she set me up and pushed me to go on to university to continue my studies.
I started out just learning all different mediums and studied great subjects, provoking me to think about what I was creating. She brought me out of my shell and I became the happier me, theissues I thought I would have with dyslexia were diminished and I was able to learn so much more taking it to degree level.
I left with a feeling of optimism, but very naive, my personal life was going to take some very big highs and lows, it was a beginning of a roller coaster that I could not get off for a while,
My mothers marriage broke down once again, then within a few years both fathers died, and I fell out with 50–60% of my family. But I also became a father and a husband during my time at university. Because I was practicing art so much it didn’t feel so painful. Mood swings were lessened, I wasn’t so depressed and was able to pull myself out with somewhat ease. A medication for my soul.
Leaving university, I ended up on a role thinking it would be fine to go back into hospitality. The artwork dwindled away, but I wanted to push myself on a project to see what I was capable of.
Not knowing what I could do, I decided to see an old army friend. He had been badly wounded by an IED not long after I left and was dealing with the emotional state that comes with it.
While I was there I just got on with whatever he needed doing. But emotions ran high after, I embarked on organising an event for the local community, and on doing this I learnt so much. Who I needed to speak to, and created a high awareness of the event, this done two things; I raised a higher awareness of the social club where I was working as an assistant manager, it also generated a substantial amount of money for the club which secured their future for a little longer and the charity received a big cheque, this event ended up being a small but big legacy from me to the club and I am yet to do it again.
My bad relationship with alcohol was still apparent. The heavy drinking almost pulled my family apart. So, I left the hospitality trade for good, and my relationship with it became more strict.
6 years on I am more settled, I have a job that I managed to secure through someone I knew and I am still married with 2 highly intelligent girls.
It was 3 years ago I slipped into my darkest state, only 2 years ago that my relationship with alcohols was the trigger, and now I don’t drink at all.
So that’s my story,
But on a shorter note were have I been in the arts over the last 6 years?
Well I have been dabbling at home as a hobby with drawing studies, learning new skills and mediums and when learning, 12 months before covid 19, I came across a video, I can’t remember who it was now but what I took from it was, if I do anything and don’t tell people what I’m doing how is anybody going to know? I left it there for a while. Then I was moaning about my student debt, and my mother-in-law stated well ‘you’re the one that has never done anything with it!’
Later that same month I was feeling quite low and seeked help again from the doctor, I went for an answer to the question ‘what was wrong with me mentally?’
I was scared of rejection of my art work, this demon was on my back once again, I was thinking am I going to have this again, I have learnt so much in my life so far that I feel I needed to share what I can do to the world, to show everyone what’s in my mind whether it’s political exposure, bad or good, life awareness, soul awareness of each other including the strangers you see everyday.
So I started slowly, I had a tin of pencils and some paper and just began to draw, 3 months later I was taking on commissions and drawing motorcycles, for the motorbike community, with that I invested in new paints and painted murals for my children’s bedrooms. Later I advertised that I could do this and took on my first mural commission. My network of artists who were keen to collaborate with me on a large group exhibition was going to happen for mental health. And on top of that I had been selling artwork online with small but some success.
And then Bang, lockdown happened and I quit drinking altogether and yet not deterred I knew I couldn’t carry on how I was going for some time, but being in lockdown gave me the chance to reflect, learn new skills and bring my work into a somewhat more focused state. I needed to learn to believe in myself.
When I say more focused, I felt the need to find out why I was creating works rather than just creating,
I still like to paint murals and commissions because I enjoy the getting to know someone that l didn’t know before, creating happy memorable moments.
And yet I also like creating works from my imagination where it can touch someone spiritually or mentally give them comfort just like a poem or a piece of music
So, my inspirations are from empowering music and spoken word. Art to me needs to create a deep relationship with the viewer. I create to inspire and enrich people’s lives, to bring a little joy or so relationships between others when we did not think they were there, to show that we are not alone, to spark confessions on the subject I’m trying to illustrate.
I take on artist inspiration from past artists from the aesthetics of Francis Bacon to Salvador Dali. Telling a small story within a painting.
Impressionist is nearest to my style of work but I also been known to create expressionist works.
My favourite mediums to use is Acrylic on board or canvas, as well as graphite, charcoal and ink. I have also been known to dabble in other mediums. It depends on the subject I wish to work on and the story I’m trying to illustrate.
My goals in life are simple, to become something else, to leave a happy impression on people’s lives wherever I go and do, from creating artworks, to art events and learn much more on my way. And one day be able to do this full time and create highly memorable exhibitions and experiences.
I’m going to finish with a quote I have related to and it comes from Stella Adler: