After attending Station North Art CSA Artist Talks, I fell madly in love with the work of Christine Buckton Tillman. This isn’t a new thing. I have loved her ridiculous ceramic paper chains and flags for years, but it was inspiring to hear – directly from the artist – why she does what she does. Christine harvests many of her art supplies from Party City, which is highly appropriate since her personality is usually, as she describes it, “dialed up to 11.”
Christine is originally from Northern Chicago (the suburb of Libertyville, IL- home of the Wildcats) she earned her BA at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, and earned her MFA from the University of Iowa. She moved to Baltimore after falling in love with “a nice Maryland boy” who also happens to be a highly skilled printmaker.
Christine describes herself as “a very flat sculptor who draws more often than she makes sculptures.” As an artist she explores notions of the handmade, celebration, and man-made interpretations of nature. Christine is a member of the Drawing Center Viewing Program, Transformer Flatfile, and received a 2010 Maryland State Arts Council Grant for her Works on Paper.
Name: Christine Buckton Tillman
Baltimore Neighborhood: As of last summer outside the city in Sudbrook Park. We were in Hampden for 11 years and a big part of me still feels like that is home.
Occupation/ Day Job: Upper School Art Faculty at The Park School of Baltimore
Study or College Degrees: BA Coe College, 1999 MA, MFA University of Iowa 2001, 2002.
Studio Location: The smallest little bedroom in our house. We are building a silkscreen studio in the basement though!
Media: I believe I’m a sculptor who makes more drawings than sculptures. When I’m drawing I use gouache, ink, and collage. When I sculpt it’s clay, wood, and mylar streamers, fake plants, and theatre gels.
Favorite Tools: My iPhone, tumblr, double stick tape, watercolor blocks, bamboo and craft brushes, yogurt cups, scrap paper, cups, cans, bins, and drawers for organizing.
Currently Working On: Wrapping up the packing for my piece for the Station North CSA, and drawing.
Studio Frequency: It all depends. With a full time job and a toddler real physical studio time is usually relegated to nap time on days I’m home.
That said, I have a real open definition of what I think studio time can be thinking while you’re driving. Noticing something while you’re at Target, reading an art blog while eating lunch, checking your Instagram all of that can be just as important as looking at that drawing to decide if it’s finished.
Upcoming / Current Shows or Projects: Aside from the Station North CSA, I’m just gearing up for an awesome summer home with my daughter and getting that silkscreen studio up and running.
How’d You Start Out as an Artist: After grad school Robert and I picked a city and moved there. He’s from Towson and I’m from Chicago. Baltimore won because it’s a much more affordable and accessible city. We could afford an apartment (and soon buy a house) big enough to contain our studios and start showing within our first year outside of school. My first show in town was in a group show at Goucher that Pam Thompson curated.
Artist Whose Career You Covet: My internet pals Lisa Soloman (Oakland) and Kate Bingaman Burt (Portland). I love how they work in between the art and craft communities and keep their process open, accessible, and authentic. Lisa and I are scheming about a project here in Baltimore (we’re looking for a venue now if anyone’s interested). Both are inspiring teachers as well.
Artist Whose Work You Wish You Had Made: Polly Apfelbaum. Her relief print work with Durham Press is so playful and comes from a process equally as playful. It’s like playing with blocks with both order and structure. While my daughter isn’t named after her per se I’m totally happy with that connection.
Advice You Wish Someone Had Given You 10 Years Ago: Stop caring what everyone else is doing and make work that makes you happy.
What Motivates You: Looking. Whether it’s seeing sweaters at Target all lined up in colorful rows, the azaleas blooming on my street, or drooling over Jonas Wood’s paintings online- it’s looking at things that makes me want to make things.
What’s it like being married to another artist? It’s awesome. Robert and I met in graduate school. It’s nice to easily be able to bounce ideas off of each other.
* Interview conducted by Cara Ober
* All Photos by Justin Tsucalas (Plaid Photo) for BmoreArt.