Visual artist Tim Folzenlogen’s inspiration for the Chairs of Inclusion project was the interconnectedness of everyone. Here, he talks about his art and the challenges and rewards of creating the Chair.
- What is your education and background as an artist?
I am a graduate of The Art Academy of Cincinnati (class of ‘74). I have a BFA. I established my first studio in NYC in the early eighties. I have had 60 solo shows, and have participated in at least as many group shows. I’m in lots of major collections, and probably have a couple thousand pieces of art hanging out there somewhere. I’m currently an art facilitator at the WAE Center and am very happy to be.
- What inspires you?
From the age of five, until I was twenty-three, I used to have cosmic experiences on a daily basis. Fairly recently (about ten years ago), I came to understand that these experiences had to do with Quantum Physics. Trying to understand these experiences, and then express that understanding, has been the driving force (inspiration) of my life. When I moved to NYC, for thirty years, I was totally captivated by the city. At this time in my life, I’d have to say that I am most inspired by my wife [WAE Center Manager Renee Folzenlogen] and The WAE Center members.
- How would you describe your artistic style?
My art is very everybody, in that my orientation to life is very everyone – no one more or less than any other. I think that most anyone can easily understand my art. It’s also very honest and sincere. I’ve never opted to go the commercial route, and have probably burned more bridges than I have made use of. I’m a total slave to my intuition.
- What do you do when you’re not creating art?
When not creating art or working at the WAE Center (where I also do art), I do yard work, work on the house, food shopping, read books, and sleep.
- What initially inspired your Chair concept?
My initial inspiration for the chair project was to make use of Renee’s rocking chair in our basement, which she used to nurse her babies. I liked the associations that a rocking share has with infants and the elderly, encompassing an entire lifespan.
- What was your experience working at the WAE Center on your Chair?
We didn’t work on our chair at the WAE Center. For whatever reason, we worked on it in a garage of a house, which was a thirty-minute drive from the center. That was the first hurdle to overcome after the first time, as most members do not want to leave The WAE Center to go that far on a regular basis. On the positive side, I think that since our chair was the first to be created, we got to spend a lot more time with the film guy [Steve Rogers], which the members seemed to enjoy. Honestly speaking, I have never done this kind of a project before – guiding members, working on a rather complicated 3-D object – and the whole process was one of overcoming one unforeseen problem after the next. I couldn’t have done it without Vicky’s ongoing confidence and support: “We can do this, Tim.” I was so moved by her.
- Did your Chair concept change or evolve as you worked with the Center’s artists?
The only change in the concept was that initially we were going to cover all the holes with small laminated photos of portraits of the members – making the project more literal – less conceptual – with the strings connecting the different individuals to each other. As it turned out, Monica [Schneider-Brewer, WAE Center staff] – another tremendous source of encouragement and support – found this colorful parachute cord which exactly filled the holes, and would have made it difficult to glue the portraits, as there was no longer a flat or wooden surface.
- What does inclusion mean to you?
Inclusion to me means everyone, every single person; no one more or less than any other.
- What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
I’d have to go with “We are all the same person.” What that means to me is that everyone is thinking, saying and doing exactly what you or I would think, say or do if we were them. Get born into a red, and everything you think, see or do will be tinted red. Deeply encounter a blue, and your viewpoint will change to violet. Add all the colors together of equal intensity (mutual respect) and the world turns clear.
- How do you relax?
I relax by reading. I live with readers, and so find myself reading anything and everything – from children’s books to fiction to history.