Tim Flower and being a "full stack" artist

 Cinematographer and artist Tim Flower proofing his prints in The Print Room (printroom.co)

Cinematographer and artist Tim Flower proofing his prints in The Print Room (printroom.co)

Back in 2012 I read an article in The Guardian about artists being “double jobbers”, needing part-time jobs and managing multiple careers. This article has always stuck in my mind, particularly pertinent to me as I was then studying my BFA and pursuing a career as an artist. I was prepared, knowing that realistically, it would be unlikely to pay the bills - hence throwing myself into The Print Room at the same time as trying to juggle a career as an artist.

I am definitely not alone in this. Almost every artist I come across has at least one other job. One other career. We are all juggling. I’ve previously touched on artists being some of the hardest working entrepreneurs, and after having had Chris Messina’s well discussed Medium “think piece” on being a Full Stack Employee ruminating in the back of my mind for a couple of months, I have realised that every single artist and self-employed creative I know is “full-stack” and has been long before this buzz word was ever invented;


They’re on the latest social apps, and know how to self-promote ... They use narrative and storytelling to involve their audience, but have watched enough three minute Kickstarter videos to know that they need to get to their point in less time than it takes to watch an Instagram video, if not a Vine. Attention is the currency of the age.

Full stack employees have an insatiable appetite for new ideas, best practices, and ways to be more productive and happy. They’re curious about the world, what makes it work, and how to make their mark on it. It’s this aspect above others that defines and separates the full stack employee from previous generations. Full stack employees can’t put blinders on once they land a job; instead they must stay up on developments in their industry and others, because they know that innovation is found at the boundaries between disciplines, not by narrowly focusing in one sphere.

Chris Messina - The full-stack employee


That in mind, I decided to ask Tim Flower, international Auckland-based cinematographer and photographic artist, a couple of questions about being a “double jobber” or “full stack artist”, juggling multiple careers on the go in the run up to his exhibition In a different light opening at The Depot Artspace this Saturday;

HC: Could you please give us a brief overview of your career?

TF: I've been working as a cinematographer for about 7 years now, shooting everything from documentaries to feature films to music videos. I am a member of the NZCS (New Zealand Cinematographers Society) and in 2013 I was nominated for Best Cinematography on a Feature Film at the NZ Film Awards. Since I was a teenager photography has been a passion and a regular hobby - this is the first time I've taken it further and had an exhibition.

HC: Working in both New Zealand and overseas, as well as your art career, how do you manage your time juggling multiple careers?

TF: Not sure about this one...I wouldn't say I have an art career yet, as this is my first exhibition! But my answer to the question below may cover this.

 Tim Flower's print for In a different light coming off of the printer at The Print Room (printroom.co)

Tim Flower's print for In a different light coming off of the printer at The Print Room (printroom.co)

HC: For the series, In a Different Light, you travelled around New Zealand - how long did this trip take you? Or was it weaved into other work trips?

TF: The photos from this exhibition were taken over a period of about 6 months. I went on a lot of road trips around the North Island looking for interesting scenery that works well in infrared. Sometimes I managed to weave this into work trips as well. Being a freelancer means that whenever I have a few days that I'm not booked for my video work I can jump in the car and drive to an interesting part of NZ to take photos.

 Riverbank by Tim Flower (c) - Image used courtesy of the artist

Riverbank by Tim Flower (c) - Image used courtesy of the artist

HC: The landscapes you’ve captured in this series take on a surreal colour spectrum, what was the inspiration for using Infrared film? Is there a conceptual reasoning behind the work or purely an aesthetic exploration into landscape?

TF: I've always been interested in light and how we perceive it as humans. Colour as we see it is just our human interpretation and the spectrum of light we see is just a small portion of the overall spectrum of light that exists around us - from X-ray to Infrared to gamma ray. I was intrigued when I found out that there was a film that could capture a wavelength of light that is completely invisible to the human eye. I love how even though the colours that the film uses to show infrared light are so far from colours we'd consider "natural", the images still feel organic.

The film was originally developed for uses such as topographical analysis, camouflage detention etc as it can clearly distinguish organic plant matter. I was interested in taking a medium that has traditionally been used for very scientific purposes and using it as a creative photographic medium.

In a different light opens at The Depot Artspace this Saturday 18th July, from 2pm until 3.30pm, hopefully we’ll see you there! The exhibition runs until the 5th August - more details here.

The Print Room is proud to support this exhibition.