Well-known artist Tim Bulmer, pictured below right, has recently moved to York. His newest project is a gallery of great British stereotypes – so what inspires him?
Your new book is Calvert’s Guide To The British. Did you base your stereotype illustrations on people you know?
No, because the word “stereotype” tends to indicate a general rather than a specific impression. If the illustration just happens to resemble any individual it would be purely though serendipitously coincidental.
Which social stereotypes did you enjoying creating most?
The more interesting ends of society be they aristocratic and as mad as a box of frogs or thieving toe rags. In my mind they are and always have been the most interesting.
What have been your most interesting and unusual commissions over the years?
Creating the 15 metre timeline for a visitor centre at a winery in the South Of France – it started from the dinosaurs and continued right through to the present day.
What materials do you use, and how do you set about a new illustration?
I tend to use pen and ink with water colour though will use acrylic if any strong colours (especially skies) are required. I sketch the idea out in pencil then wait for it to come to life as I work on it layer by layer. It’s impossible to describe as I gradually change my technique over time.
Does your York location influence you as an artist?
I have only just moved into York and am so excited by the city. I have been a visitor all my life but to actually live here is to come full circle especially as my late father was born in Bootham. I am working on a large cartoon map of the city but that is very much work in progress at the moment.
What have been the most memorable reactions to your work?
I have had so many but I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to say that everybody understands my work. I would far rather be loved by some and misunderstood by others. Typically though one always remembers the one negative comment over and above the hundreds of positive ones.
What are the best bits of York and North Yorkshire for you?
The sheer variety that is wrapped up in just one county. It could be an entire country. The coast is stunning, the dales, especially when the mist is down, and the quiet rolling splendour of the Wolds. Craning my neck and gazing in awe at the ceiling in York Minster still takes my breath away.
What do you enjoy doing when not at work?
Being with my family, round a dinner table and totally relaxed. My son is in the wine trade working for Yorkshire Vintners in Ripon, my daughter has just started a degree in fashion and knitware at Nottingham Trent and my wife is my long suffering business partner. The conversation is usually thoroughly disrespectful at my expense and I love it.
That’s the 60 million question – I never know what I am doing from one day to the next. I usually have some personal commissions in the pipeline and as often as not a commercial project which may or may not see the light of day. We live in interesting times so one has to accept everything that comes along and hope for the best.
The Braithwaite Gallery in Low Petergate, York have just started to stock my work so I hope very much to be working with them on various themes and ideas.
- To find out more about Tim Bulmer and Calvert’s Guide To The British, check out his website
- To buy from a wide range of limited edition fine art prints by Tim go to his online shop