Inside the colourful world of Tim Braden


Tim Braden’s west London studio has views overlooking a railway line to Ernö Goldfinger’s implacable Trellick Tower beyond. With a 12-metre window spanning the length of one wall, even on the bleakest midwinter day, his workspace is awash with brilliant light. He has painted the walls a dazzling shade of white, which amplifies and saturates the kaleidoscopic colours of his canvases. ‘I love the crazy brightness of the space,’ says Tim. ‘It has the same effect as driving down the motorway with the sun in your eyes, or lying on the beach with your eyes shut and then going into a dark room. The sensation is both heightened and muted.’

Though Tim’s paintings are often rooted in reality – an armchair by a table, the fronds of a palm tree, or the outline of a path – he has an instinctive sense of when to step back from reality in favour of a stronger image. As such, his works are often pared back and abstracted into blocks of vivid colour. ‘I’ll find an image and it will fester and lurk around, sometimes for five or 10 years, until I work out what language I’ll use to paint it,’ he says.

Tim’s studio is dotted with objects that hint at this way of e working – postcards of Tahitian women by Gaugin, wax hands, Perspex colour samples salvaged from a factory in France. One by one, these will more than likely find their way into Tim’s paintings. Similarly, the studio is filled with relics from previous shows. The skeleton of a small powerboat now hangs from the ceiling, having once been part of Tim’s exhibition I Spend My Evenings Sitting by the Fireside Hunting Tigers in which he created an imaginary world for an imaginary child who was not allowed to leave the castle in which he lived. There was a library of books, a model of the solar system made using tennis balls and the walls were painted with diagrams of maps.

Tim’s studio kitchen resembles a cantina he once saw in Belo Horizonte in Brazil. He has reconstructed the space from the snapshot he took and his memory of it. There are paintings of black-and-white football club photos and a board listing the prices of omelete, carne cozida and bife de boi. It is a space that neatly represents the way Tim shifts between representation and abstraction, the vital role found objects play within his practice and his unique ability to make the unremarkable remarkable.

Instagram: @timbradenstudio


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