“Woodstock (Middle Finger)”, 2017
Our artists of the week: Tinker Brothers
We’ve left that question at the top of this blog post as a poser, of course – a challenge. The artists known as the Tinker Brothers – Liam and Noah – may not have exactly reached such a status yet, but there’s no question that they’ve given the quest a good go over the last five years, and who knows? One day, they may just get there.
In the meantime, here at Addicted Art Gallery, we can be more than appreciative of the brothers’ multimedia works that speak of the graphic purity of minimalism. From Mickey Mouse, Felix The Cat and Stormtrooper helmets to Snoopy and Woodstock from the Charles M. Schulz comic strip Peanuts, there’s no shortage of instantly recognisable pop-culture references across the siblings’ work.
“Partners in Crime”, 2017
But what really motivates them? As always with the true greats, it’s not simple worldly adulation that they’re seeking. In their words, “the reason we make art is because there are a lot of things to say – about love; about the troubles of this world, its beauty and our place in it; about our dreams and potential; our highs and lows; about truth.”
“Who Shot the Sheriff?”, 2017
Two people who dared to follow their dreams
When read in isolation, without taking the time to appreciate the siblings’ striking bold stencilled monochromic and often cartoony works, it’s easy to see the above as just more of the ‘usual’ pretentious artist talk. When the Tinker Brothers’ actual oeuvre is taken into account, however, along with their story, it’s clear that such words come from a sincere and heartfelt place.
The other place these guys come from is Eindhoven, where they are presently based. Like many of today’s influential artists, they didn’t exactly start out as such – indeed, only as recently as 2011 did they drop out of their respective studies at the University of Applied Sciences and the University of Technology. The following year, they decided to quit their jobs and get rid of their ‘stuff’ – save for a few essentials – to chase their dreams of becoming artists.
As the siblings have recalled: “It was in that moment that we decided that there was more to life than playing it safe and ‘just making a living’. Somehow, we both felt a calling, a purpose, a hunger for greatness – opening up to a deeper, more spiritual dimension if you will. It was as if we were looking at the world through new eyes, as if the skies opened up and anything became possible.”
More than just ‘provocateurs’
It seems that we are presently in the era of the cultural provocateur – the figure who values the eye-catching point over whether what they’re saying actually has much of a point. Many may have thought that the Tinker Brothers did the same when, in 2015, they put an artwork of theirs – a crumpled can of Coke, befittingly enough called Can of Coke – on the market for what would have been a record-breaking selling price of $322 million, or £203.9 million.
“Can of Coke”, 2014
That would have been higher than the prices for which Picasso’s Women of Algiers ($160 million, 2015), Cezanne’s The Card Players ($250 million, 2011) and Gauguin’s When Will You Marry? ($300 million, 2015) all sold. However, as they stated on Facebook at the time, there was a deeper message that they wished to impart through the controversial gesture – that “yes, it’s just a can of Coke, and we are selling it for millions. It’s time for you to wake up.”
The brothers were also quoted in an article in DesignCurial at the time as describing what they felt awaited for their artistic outfit: “We believe the beauty of being an artist is to make a living by playing. There is no limit to how far we can go. In that sense, Can of Coke is only the humble beginning of what we, as artists, are capable of doing. We intend to continue shaking up the world, by making works of art that plant seeds of enlightenment.”
It’s that kind of attitude which, as far as we are concerned here at Addicted Art Gallery, really is set to drive them to their longed-for status as some of the most influential artists of their time!
Tinker Brothers – Liam and Noah