An interview with world-famous fine artist Tim Cantor, as he breaks into the digital art space, creating his very first NFTs.

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Tim Cantor, a renowned fine artist the world over. Tim only works with Oil paints and has oftentimes strict rules and traditions he holds himself and his work to. Ahead of his upcoming NFT drop with Terra Virtua, we decided to ask the ever-mysterious Tim Cantor a few questions about his reasons behind breaking tradition.

Why do you only hold an exhibition every two years??

I have these unveiling exhibitions approximately every 2 years. But I’m always painting!  Every night from around midnight to 7-8am. I usually have anywhere from 20 – 30 oil paintings that I am working on in my studio at any given time and it takes me just about two years to complete a collection of approximately 25 paintings. Each painting has about 50-100 layers of oil paint, glazes, and varnish along with all the tiny details that go into my work. Those details are what take the longest. But that’s also my favorite thing to do.

So, with a date in mind, I work towards a big exhibition to reveal each collection. These events have grown over the years where thousands of people come out for the show. The anticipation that builds for one of my shows makes it a very exciting time for me. I get really nervous too. Up until the actual exhibition, I HIDE all my paintings from everyone in the world… including my wife, Amy.  

Tim Cantor, ‘Firefly’. 2017.

Have you ever deviated from this tradition before? If yes, why?

The only time I ever deviated from this tradition was in 2014, when I began working with Imagine Dragons. I put everything aside and focused on the work I did for the release of their album Smoke + Mirrors. I knew it was going to be big. I was so happy when it debuted as the #1 album in the world!  So much went into the creation of the art for the album. There were 14 pieces all together: 13 pieces of art to represent each song, and of course the actual album cover, and various alternate covers in respect to their international release. I collaborated on the official music video for SHOTS where each frame of the film took my paintings and brought them to life. And then… I traveled with the band on their US, European and Asian tours where a museum of my art for Smoke + Mirrors was erected at each concert. It was so fulfilling to see the excitement that the art generated as it was the lead in for the fans as they entered the stadiums to see the concerts.

On that tour, I brought most of the actual original paintings and conceptual works of art that went into the creation of the album. We worked with Hans Zimmer to mix the songs so that people could experience the art and listen to the music in which the work was connected to. 

The band even got me my own tour bus so I could paint while I was on the road. It was all so overwhelming that it was three years between my own exhibitions while working with Imagine Dragons. But really, as I think about it, I was having more exhibitions than I’ve ever had! So yes, I guess that was somewhat of a deviation… but very much worth it:)

What is it about crypto-art that’s made you break from tradition and release now?

Honestly, at first, I didn’t think it was a place for me. I have always strived incredibly hard to create by the means and the traditions of the Old Master’s. It really is my personal passion to seek out and use the same materials, and grind and mix my pigments just as artists did 500 years ago. 

But the emergence of crypto-art was kind of haunting me. I began to realize what an incredible and very unique platform it could be for me as a “traditional” artist. I thought about the link between the creation of my art and my other love of making films. I make films relating to my art, and I soon discovered that there’s a great deal of what I know how to do with films that could blend with the digital art realm. It kind of relates back to when I worked on creating the SHOTS video for Imagine Dragons. I started creating movement, digitally in my paintings. It is a way for my paintings to come to life… and that excites me! I don’t see it as a replacement of my art, but an extension. 

What excites you about the crypto-art space? 

I love the idea of reaching a greater audience, and also, I really get inspired when I am able to create something from start to finish; the idea of taking an entire thought and presenting it to the viewer in an unusual and unexpected way. Like a vignette of a work of art that goes beyond what a finished oil painting can deliver to the viewer. There’s a beautiful unexpected opportunity I’ve found in the crypto-art space that allows me to share the entire process – from the first drawings to the final oil painting – and present this in one piece of art. For me, whose process is so tangible, to be able to share all that physical art in a UNIQUE format is really amazing!

Tim Cantor, ‘En Pointe’. 2006

Do you feel your work transfers well into the digital art space and what do you enjoy about seeing your art in a digital form that you don’t get with its traditional counterpart?

Yes, it really feels like another step of creativity. It allows me to push the boundaries of my art and take it to a different place. And I am always open to challenging myself and growing…

With the methods, I use to create my art, and how serious I take it, I will always be limited to how many paintings I can paint. To me, each one is so important. Maybe because I look at historical art so much, I realize that my paintings are what will live on when I’m gone. I’ll never be an artist who will or would produce a painting in a day. It really does take years and countless hours alone in my studio, painting through the night, to bring my paintings to life. So, with that said, since my original paintings are indeed rare, I feel, for me, that having an actual tangible work of art legitimizes that the NFT’s created of them will be found more valuable and proven rare for collectors. It’s a sad truth that there are only so many original paintings that I will create in my lifetime, but it is also this reality that might be the path to give true meaning to my art. 

Also with this platform, I can expand the capabilities of my imagination beyond ever before. I can share the chapters that go into the creation of a work of art. 

For example, in The Unseen Theater, I reveal my entire process, from primitive drawings, to more refine renderings, to the completed work of art. It gives me a unique opportunity to take my entire painting and conceive one final presentation that someone can own. 

In a traditional method, I could never present a collector with the first spark in the inception of an idea to a completed work of art, and all the parts in between. I am fascinated with the idea that someone could own all facets of what goes into the creation of one of my original paintings in one offering.

We at Terra Virtua feel so honoured to be working alongside Tim on the launch of his first ever crypto-art release and having seen some of the work he will be offering you all an opportunity to own, it really is beyond exciting.

If you’d like to know or see more from Tim Cantor you can do so over on his website.

And if you want to be first in the loop about the release of Tim’s work onto the Terra Virtua marketplace, follow us on Twitter

Plus, if you want to be really prepared to get your hands on some of Tim Cantor’s incredible work, make sure you sign up on our website so you can get straight to bagging yourself some beyond amazing art work. 

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