We chatted with Tim McLaughlin, the photographer behind the image for The Indigo Project.
In keeping with our 2019/20 Season theme of “old meets new” we are thrilled to share the work of some of Canada’s and the world’s most exciting contemporary artists as part of our season campaign. These stunning images were chosen to complement both the season theme and the theme of each individual concert.
Get to know more of Tim and his work with our Q&A.
Tafelmusik: Tell us a little about yourself, and how you started in your field of art?
Tim McLaughlin: I am a Canadian artist, writer, and photographer. Presently I am active in the production of small batches of traditional hand-made inks. I teach ink making and for the past fifteen years have been conducting research into natural dye use. In partnership with Charllotte Kwon and her company Maiwa Handprints, I also document artisan communities and advocate for the importance and continuation of traditional craft and culture. This collaboration provides the moment to take both writing and photographic work into new areas and to work on larger projects. Recently, Charllotte and I worked together to produce Textiles of the Banjara: Cloth and Culture of a Wandering Tribe (Thames and Hudson, 2016). My photographic work to be used in the program came out of field research into Indigo in India.
Over the years I have been active in experimental radio, hypertext fiction (I am included in the Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada), graphic design, book production, and documentary film.
In my photographic work I am drawn to portraiture and documentary images.
Tafelmusik: Tell us more about the artwork featured in our season campaign and your concept behind it. What was your process while creating it?
Tim: The photo and video used was created as part of the ongoing natural dye research conducted by Maiwa Handprints, a small family-run company located in Vancouver, Canada. We promote natural dye use and are constantly documenting the fast disappearing world of traditional dye techniques.
Tafelmusik: What is your favourite music to listen to when making art?
Tim: I enjoy classical guitar. Bach is always a favourite. Almost anything played on the cello.
Tafelmusik: What shows or exhibitions are you dying to see? Is there an artist or organization you’d encourage our followers to explore?
Tim: Well, of course I am biased, but I do think that the work that Maiwa does to promote artisan work and the continuation of craft is of vital importance. This work is mainly textile based. However, there are so many elements that go into making and one’s approach to life, that I find the issues raised go far beyond textiles. Continuation of craft and artisan work is really a dedication to a particular approach to culture. It is a conduit for a deeper discussion of what constitutes a good life, and a meaningful life.
Tafelmusik: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Tim: The famous quote from Walker Evans: “Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”