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Tim Mara, Four Heads, 1980
Tim Mara Artist's Alphabet

D, E and F > F: Family & Friends back | start | next |

back to the alphabet grid The Student Works 1970 -1976

A question often asked particularly about the prints of the Artist's early period is who are the people in these maximal densely populated works?

Many of the figures depicted have their backs to the viewer or their faces and features are disguised and obscured by hats, hair or other visual devices such as lampshades, newspapers and sunglasses.

This was a very deliberate tactic by the Artist who often did not want the identity of the person depicted to interfere with the reading and appreciation of the image. He wanted the models he used to have a certain archetypal anonymity in much the same way as the objects he portrayed a decade later would have.

Faces, he said distracted attention from the print and encouraged the viewer to see them as individuals, which wasn't the point. Faces, he believed were a shortcut to identity and yet the individuals involved were extremely important to him, often family and friends; every member of his printed cast was chosen very consciously and deliberately, sometimes because of an identifiable piece of object or clothing which they wore or a particular characteristic which triggered off other usual associations for him.

Tim used family and friends for many reasons; he was familiar with them and their identities and he could cast them in the right print, making the directorship of these filmic-like works easier to visualise. It was also much less expensive than paying for professional models and we should remember that at the time of making these works, Tim was still a student with his own family and a low income. All of the models involved volunteered or where coerced into participating out of a sense of creative excitement, support and friendship, not any financial gain. (Although it may be of interest that, to encourage his sometimes reluctant daughters to model for him, he would offer them a 10% cut of any sales of the print works in which they featured).

The identity of the individual people is not important to obtain an enhanced understanding of the works. However, revealing this is interesting in that it gives us some insight into the Artist's working methods, family life, relationships and thought process. It is also curiously satisfying to put a name to these mysterious characters. Below is a selected key to some of the prints and the personalities included in them.

  • see 'Who's Who' in the student works
  • move onto The 1980's section
    © Text: Mark Hampson / Images: Belinda Mara
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