Throughout the hallways of the lower level studios at the John Michael Kohler Art Center (JMKAC), Sheboygan-based painter Timon Tupper has revamped the walls into psychedelic modern grayscale murals.
“The people I work with wanted to change up the boring white walls, so they decided to pick a few different shades of gray,” says Tupper, who has been working in maintenance at the renowned Arts Center for 12 years. “Well, why have just boring gray walls?”
Tupper decided to paint unique gray geometric designs on each wall instead. As Tupper approached this new project, he challenged himself to create a design on each wall more complex and elaborate than the last. He started last January and will continue to work through the next six months. While JMKAC’s lower level isn’t typically open to visitors, guests may request a tour to see Tupper’s work.
In his current project, Tupper uses latex paint and painter’s tape to get precise lines and details. “Drawing on paper with a pencil and an eraser is my favorite ‘medium,’” Tupper says. “It’s the most basic way to get an idea put down on paper.” Tupper sketches up to 10 different versions before he starts painting, taking influences from the geometry of everyday life. “I’m inspired by pop art from the ‘60s and optical illusions,” Tupper says. “I also like looking at how geometric patterns have mathematical qualities in them.”
Ever since Tupper was a child, he has been filling up sketchbooks and dabbling in different mediums. In college, his comics were published in Milwaukee’s Shepherd Express. He also worked for the Sheboygan Press, where he created illustrations and editorial cartoons.
Whether it’s illustrative, graphic or geometric art, Tupper’s work shares commonalities from piece to piece. “When I work on a project, each one contributes to that improvement on the next piece.” His analysis of his work allows him to fully appreciate his own ever-evolving style as well as the work of others. “I can stare at something I did a long time ago and get happy the more I look at it,” Tupper says. “Even when I look at other people’s work, I like it the more I look at it.”
Tupper continues to feature his work in exhibitions at JMKAC and also had his stencil-work featured at Eyebuzz Fine Art Gallery in New York. He also had paintings hung up at Paradigm Coffee and Music in Sheboygan as well as t-shirts he designed on sale at the coffee shop. See more of Timon Tupper’s work on Instagram @timontupper.