If you ask me, there are many ways in which a true artist can be measured: devotion, practice and respect of their craft certainly have their place, but there are also lesser talked about aspects of an artist’s process that are very often clear insights into how talented an artist actually is. Perhaps that all sounds a little convoluted or esoteric, but I believe it to be true. I think that an artist like Timothy Hoyer offers a clear glimpse into his natural ability not through his artwork itself (though it is really, really, really nice stuff), but through his admission that he has no set plan in terms of colour scheme when he works and that he waits for a little voice to kind of keep him going forward. In other words, Hoyer relies on his gut and all I know is that any artist who can rely on their gut is an artist who is fully aware at all times of what he or she is doing, whether consciously or subconsciously.
‘The color scheme of a tattoo is something I try not to think about too much beforehand, because it always seems to work best when I just go on instinct. I always know what kind of general feeling I’m going for and, of course, I make sure I have a thorough understanding of what the client wants. As I’m working on something, there’s always a little voice that tells me what the next color is, what’s going to work. If I let go and just follow that, things work out the best. I know lots of people that work the opposite way – that like to have everything planned before they start. This is just what works the best for me. I have to get out of the way and let the tattoo take on its own life. If I try to plan things too much, it seems to drain the energy out of it.’
What’s more, I admire Hoyer’s quest to take ugly things and make them beautiful or to examine the contrast between ugly and beautiful. This sort of challenge has always interested in me in all forms of art, not just tattoo and I really appreciate that Hoyer takes the time to work these kind of challenges out through his tattoo work. In other words, this is an artist who cares – honestly and truly about his work and most certainly, about his customers. The craft itself seems to be an exploration for Hoyer and it’s never something that he takes lightly.
‘People aren’t used to thinking anymore, they’re taught by television and movies that everything’s black or white and nothing has meaning beyond the obvious associations you make. It all comes down to visual power. I’m concentrating mostly on large projects now, backs, sleeves, bodysuits, etc. I’ve been doing a lot of Japanese tattoos, and I’m really trying to learn about it, trying to crack the code and figure out the right way to draw things. It’s the kind of thing you really have to study, and once you learn a little bit you start to realize that 99.9% of the ‘Japanese’ tattoos you see in American tattoo magazines are totally fucked … and it’s because people didn’t have the respect to realize that these images are drawn a certain way for a reason and you can’t just do it ‘your way’ and have it look right. So they end up tattooing cherry blossoms with 4 petals, backwards wind, and water that looks like piles of dirty tube socks.’
Through his own desire to push himself and his work into different directions, Hoyer has forged his way into the tattoo industry as an artist who isn’t categorised as being from one particular or another. His images blend and highlight different styles, while maintaining an entirely original appeal to them all the while. In addition to this, Hoyer’s style and approach help to create an appeal for a specific type of client: one that trusts the artist to explore and expand on everything from styles to composition to colours. He is truly one of a kind and the tattoo community should most certainly count itself as lucky to have him on their side.
If you’re interested in contacting Timothy about some tattoo work, you can do so by getting in touch with him at his studio, the Alive Gallery in Richmond, Virginia:
16 S. Auburn Ave.
Richmond, VA 23221