Self Taught is a very apt title for Tim Kerr’s latest art book. No matter if we’re talking about skateboarding and surfing, to music, to painting and photography, Tim has proven time and time again that simply not knowing how to do something is no reason not to learn and excel at it. While most Razorcake readers would be most familiar with Tim’s work in bands such as Big Boys, Lord High Fixers, and The Monkeywrench, in the last decade or so his paintings have been gaining notoriety worldwide. In a pre-pandemic world, Tim and his wife Beth were constantly travelling around the globe for art exhibits and mural requests. During these travels Tim took to tackling a new discipline, toy camera photography. Wherever he and Beth went, Tim took photos of interesting artwork and celebrations of self expressionism. This book is a collection of those photographs, accompanied with portraits of their creators painted by Tim.
The visuals are stunning. Moving from a portrait of the artist in Tim’s distinctive style to the photos of the art installations themselves really builds a connection. Be it sculpture, architecture, or repurposing items such as old vehicles, as you move through the book it really begins to sink in that there are people of all walks of life just out there expressing themselves and it’s beautiful. Somehow the photos are bursting with color even though they are washed out in that way that only an old toy Polaroid camera can achieve. There is a deep sense of Americana in this art, at least how I (a Canadian) perceive it. Tim has always signed his art “yournamehere”—an idea that builds upon ideas that he was shouting from the stage at the end of Big Boys shows some forty years ago: “Now go start your own band!”, an idea that is not only the cornerstone of DIY punk rock, but life itself. You are the artist, and you should go out there and do whatever it is you need to do to express your vision. It’s a powerful concept that’s the heart of this collection.
Included with the book is also a digital download of the latest recordings of Tim’s musical project with his friend Jerry Haggins called Up Around The Sun. Musically speaking, this may seem a vast departure from the bands Tim has played in over the years. Traditional instrumental folk music (think guitar, banjo, harmonica) that provides a near perfect audio component to the book and the Americana I mentioned earlier. Not only does it make me happy to be able to experience a world of art I had no idea existed through the lens of an artist who I care for and respect, but the fact that this type of self expression exists at all and continues to thrive, warms the heart. –Ty Stranglehold (Don Giovanni, PO Box 628, Kingston, NJ 08528)