by Barbara Gibbs/The Art Place
Tim Campbell identifies with the term of outsider art, which was coined by an art critic in 1972 as an English synonym for "art brut" — French, meaning raw art or rough art. The critic, Roger Cardinal, used this term to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture. The term "outsider art" is often applied more broadly to include self-taught or naïve art makers. Campbell's work reflects his sharp sense of humor, and interest in primitive folk art as well as contemporary political and religious imagery. His work covers a vast range of subjects, including North American birds, his "Animals as People" series, and folk-style map paintings. He also loves to create caricature-like portraits, accentuating odd features and stretching proportions to fit the look he wants. "I like anything that's not right. I don't like perfect things."
His collection of maps includes one of Lake Winnipesaukee with our own "Nessy" popping up out of the water. Tim's collection of birds includes a robin, cardinal, chickadee, goldfinch, as well as New Hampshire's own purple finch. Of course, he has added a loon or two to the collection. This series demonstrates a more specific and detailed approach to his art. He paints his native New Hampshire fish series in a more Americana style. Having a birthday on Oct. 31, Campbell has made a lot of images relating to the Halloween holiday. He has an entire series of popular Halloween scenes and images that he has made into cards. These and other holiday cards go over very well. Campbell said, "My work is both thought-provoking and humorous. It has taken Folk Art to a new level." Campbell also creates sculptural pieces. "They are created entirely from recycled wood and metal. Using vintage pieces for my painted furniture gives them a primitive appearance. Each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind."
Campbell was born in Keene and decided to be an artist in second grade when he beat even high schoolers in an art competition. Later on, Campbell actually failed an art class in high school, but didn't let it kill his passion. Campbell's art career has flourished since then, and his work can be found in galleries around the United States and internationally. In 2010, Campbell was honored with the highest award as a traditional artisan in "The Early American Life" magazine's Directory of Traditional American Crafts.
Campbell works in his studio in Keene, with his dog, Otis, a Jack Russell terrier who keeps him company while he works, and serves as a muse for this whimsical self-taught artist. His original art as well as prints, can be seen at The Art Place, downtown Wolfeboro.