Charleston Profiles: Tim Hussey

Image by Ben Williams

Charleston Profiles is a new installation on TheDigitel that hopes to document creativity in Charleston.  We will be bringing more profiles every week with creative people that are making an impact on the Charleston community.

Tim Hussey is a Charleston artist with an impressive resume. His work has appeared in almost every major publication, and most recently is the focus of a documentary by Adam Boozer. TheDigitel was able to catch up with Tim and get some insight into his world.

TheDigitel: Describe yourself in one word.

Tim Hussey: Seated.

Describe Charleston in one word.


What was your life like growing up?

A series of completely out of control and foreign bombardments. I seemed to be operating from a vehicle that was borrowed or handed down and never considered thinking for myself. That’s not just Charleston, I suppose, but youth for meek kid with an artist’s mind.

I was driven by the need for girls’ attention. Otherwise, everything seemed like a construct for the life of the other. I didn’t get it. I think I felt more comfortable before the age of 5 and after 30.

Who/what were inspirations growing up?

I distinctly remember having no heroes. I had the hardest time placing anyone in a position of where I may want to be one day. That, in turn, was my inspiration— to find a place of my own. My father gave me very particular gifts on Christmas— they were always unique and what I didn’t ask for— like he knew I needed guidance on how to transcend and become my own thing. I still think of that when getting dressed each day. Even if ‘my own thing’ is to look like everyone else that day.

Where does your interest in art come from?

It was less of an interest than a collision. Once you draw something decent, all relatives and friends of your parents start giving you art supplies as gifts. Soon you are taken out of class to help decorate a bulletin board. Your ego gets built on that and next thing you know, you are allowed to act silly and are commended for it. Art is just one of the few avenues to illustrate your thoughts for a living.

Describe your creative process.

Mostly I lay on the couch and try to sleep— and things come into mind. Some things are visually interesting and need attention— others are repetitive and haunting thoughts... That need attention. Either way, these thoughts give to one another and I think “I will capture that”. But once I am in the studio, I know there is no way to keep work alive by recalling some inspired moment. I have to react to who, what and where I am right then. Hopefully some of that other stuff is in the mix.

Who are some of your current inspirations?

Adam Boozer inspires me. His ability to spot bullshit is so lucid. I want that.

The music of Fever Ray has hit something super deep in me— it’s the first music I have been obsessed with and actually physically wanted more.

My father inspires me with his dream of having less.

Elise’s laugh and her love for teaching has inspired me more than anything lately.

What are you most proud of?

Being my mother’s son. And living where I want without a single compromise to my vision.

What’s on your iPod?

Sigur Ros, Fever Ray, The Knife, Smog, love songs of the 70s.

Of all the places you have traveled, which stands out the most?

I don’t love to travel, but if I have to, I prefer rural towns in America.

What is your favorite restaurant and/or bar in Charleston?

Closed for Business. Hope and Union. Easy answers, right?

Who do you feel is shaping the Charleston art community today?

Adam Boozer, Rebekah Jacob, Urban Outfitters.

What inspires you about Charleston?

The air, the landscape, the homes above the crosstown, the communication and the community living as a family, bad and good.

What’s next for you?

Downsizing to make more room financially for a large studio, opening my mind to not having to use any particular medium to be legitimate.

Tim's work can be viewed at the Rebekah Jacob Gallery at 169-B King Street.