Timothy Bootan

Timothy Bootan is an Artist through and through. We got wind of his work through word of mouth, and figured we should capture and share his 20 shades.

1. How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?

To me, creativity is defying what we are told to think and allowing our minds to roam free. Once our minds are released from the shackles of society’s instruction, we can bring what we experienced on that journey to reality so others can experience it as well. Without thinking creatively we're like a dog chasing its tail, we go round and round waiting to grab the perfect idea. But until we stop and allow our minds to roam free and think creatively we will never see that that perfect idea is right in front of us, waiting for us to grab it.

2. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?

I'd say my creative ability was developed as a child in order to compensate for the absence of siblings while growing up. I turned to art and my imagination to deviate from boredom. I would draw the characters from colouring books instead of actually colouring them; then I'd create a world for them to live in and fill it with other characters. I always tell people "I'm an adult yet a child who survived" because my creativity stemmed from my childhood and I never allowed it to die.

3. When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?

I knew I wanted to get into the animation and the film industry as a child but I was not supported by anyone around me. I was told that I had to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer. When I finished secondary school and expressed what I wanted to do for a living, I was mocked and ridiculed by everyone for having childish dreams. I never wanted to be a slave to a day job but it felt like I was being pushed to do it. I attended a single job interview and decided that I would never do that again. I decided to pursue a degree in graphic design at COSTAATT to have a backup plan and that's when the friends I met there helped me realize that I needed to fulfill my goals and show my creativity to the world. I will always be grateful to Mariella Lesaldo, Dane Greaves, Keron Ramsawaksingh and Damian Belmontes for being the ones that convinced me to embrace my creativity.

4. What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?

I always evaluate my work by the response I get from two people, Mariella Lesaldo and Kailash Kalipersad. Their opinions are immensely different and fit the differing responses I would get in comments before I started asking them (in particular) to evaluate my paintings. I then use both their opinions to fix my creative work if it's needed.

Monetary rewards can only be compatible if a client allows you to express your opinions on what you think would be best for a project as well, but a client asking for my opinion was nonexistent when I first got into the world of art and design. I always felt terrible for doing a piece that they were satisfied with but I was not. Now clients ask for my opinion so it feels less like work and more like me being able to express my creativity. Monetary rewards allow me to live with food on my table but making contacts and meeting new people at the moment is more important to me.

5. Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?

Sometimes. I usually do whatever I feel is best. Clients also allow me to create whatever I think is best for their projects, but sometimes when I'm unsure of how a design looks only two or three people can influence my work. I have never allowed culture to define my work. I live in Trinidad & Tobago, a country where art is ignored and frowned upon by most and the profession of graphic designer and artist is generally not taken seriously.

6. What do you do when you experience a creative block?

I switch to a different project, I always plan ahead for creative blocks so I start multiple projects in order to switch when that creative block happens to make itself present.

7. How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?

I wouldn't say I have a spark in my head but wildfires that I keep under control until I need them. I carefully plan everything I do, so I'd get an idea for a style I'd like to use in a painting but there would be no face or subject, only a style. I then store the idea away, whenever I think it can make the greatest impact I would bring back that idea and use it for that painting.

8. Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?

No, I create whenever I get the feeling. However I do like to listen to movie soundtracks while painting. Listening to soundtracks allows me to multitask and develop multiple ideas while I paint.

9. Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?

It has changed a lot, especially in the past four years. I would always use very soft brushes and immense detail to get my paintings to look less like a painting and more like a photo. I've gotten to dislike that because if my original goal was to do a painting then it should give the feeling of one and not a photo. Rough brushes allow me to give the look of texture and an almost unfinished feel that I like seeing.

10. What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?

Friends and a normal social life. I passed on a lot of requests by old friends to get out and have fun because making my name in the world of art was more important to me. I do have a few good friends, but I do not attest to a large network of people.

11. Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?

In 2009 when no one supported my goals to focus on art and get into the different industries associated with it, I had almost given up. I had turned to a degree in Graphic Design as my backup plan, thinking that may be what I will do for the rest of my life. That's where I met Mariella Lesaldo in the same course. She was the one who pushed me every day to focus on my art and the story concepts I created. She would always tell me it's something special and she's the one who steered me on to the road I am on today.

12. Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.

No I do not believe I need to be accepted by anyone, I have always been creating whatever was on my mind. People have liked it and people have not. Neither of which have affected me to change anything about my art. Along the way you gain followers who look forward to your work when you are being yourself. When you change to what you are not, you alienate them.

13. Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.

Rejection has always made me stronger and increased my determination to succeed. I've learnt more from being rejected than someone telling me my work is amazing.

14. Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?

Not at all. Everything I did in the past helped me get to the point I'm at today. I usually don't look at my old paintings because I feel as though the past should remain just that, but when I do, it makes me smile to see how much I've matured with my art.

15. Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?

There has been only one time I doubted my talents. It was in 2010 when I was new to showing my work. There was a Facebook page that was supposedly helping artists who were not getting noticed. I was nowhere close to the level I'm at today. I drew a movie screenshot to get the look of a sketch I saw someone did. Someone on the page saw that and thought I stole someone’s work and they made it their mission to disgrace my name. I tried to tell people I had used the sketch as a reference but they believed him. I doubted my abilities and stopped drawing for a while, but it was when I bought a tablet for graphic design and dabbled in digital painting that I saw I was wasting my abilities by doing nothing. I've never sketched on paper since and I've never again tried to get the look of another artist’s work. I've learnt my lesson the hard way.

16. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?

I'm actually proud of two pieces, the first is the promotional painting I did for Machel Monday. With that painting I was able to meet great men like Machel Montano and Tony Chow Lin On. I was amazed by what they had accomplished and it strengthened my determination to achieve my goals. With that one painting I was also able to meet many new people including Major Lazer where I was able to give them a painting I had done almost a year ago. I had originally thought being able to give them that painting impossible.

The second thing I'm proud of are the costume designs I did for Trini Revellers this year. Seeing hundreds of people in the different sections wearing the costumes I helped create gave me a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling I had never allowed myself to experience before.

17. Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see (name drop) that you would like to Mentor?

I actually taught a class in COSTAATT on how to paint but it was only for three hours. I did my best to show them everything I knew and they actually learnt a lot, their paintings showed how much they improved in just three hours.

18. To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?

People out there are harsh, they will criticize your work and mock you. For every five rejections there will always be one acceptance. That will build up in time and soon you'll have a following that will spread your name and eventually your work will be found by someone who can make it known to the world.

Make plans for everything and only use that awesome idea when you think it will have the greatest effect.

Use social media to the fullest, your best tools are Instagram, Twitter and Deviantart.Treat tags as your best friend and use as many as you can.

Never ever give up because your creativity is a gift, not only to you, but the world.

19. What would you most like to be remembered for?

I'd like to be remembered for a lot of things, most dealing with my goals but above all else I would like whoever remembered me to feel loved.

Out of the Darkness

20. If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?


If you want to commission Timothy, you can contact him via email or via Facebook

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