Tim Root, Belmont barista and Stumptown icon, opens his art show “Sober Enemies, Drunk Friends” this weekend at the Division cafe. The show will feature his watercolor paintings, fortune-telling Magic 8 ball letterpress cards, patches and prints–all published under his moniker hambrgr house.
We took this opportunity to take a peek inside Root’s hallucinatory studio, hang out with him being a rad Dad in his neon house, and were lucky enough to poke around inside that infamous van.
Root has been a Stumptown institution for as long as most of us can remember. He was a member of the “original 10” hired by Duane 12 years ago, and he’s the artist behind the hilarious notorious Stumptown ads, often featuring snaggle-toothed old guys with twisted skinny limbs contorted at the mercy of their own bodies, riding skateboards and pounding french press. “Living out near Foster gives me good subject matter about real living,” he says.
Whether you catch him riding around town thrifting at the Bins for weird toys, playing music with his two daughters in his chartreuse green and hot pink house, or listening to records and drawing in his backyard studio, one thing is very clear–Root’s visionary life is the embodiment of his art.
Root’s camo-painted dayglo Toyota van overflows with rubber snakes, doll heads, fake fur, slasher masks and distorted action figures–on one side, he’s spray painted one of his goofy and lovably grotesque characters, lounging in a Playboy repose, hair whipping in the wind.
Growing up shuffling between the South Florida wetlands, riding swamp buggies with his Dad, and living in New England with his Mom, where he discovered skateboarding and rock and roll music, must have influenced his rambling spirit–he almost moved to India on a whim before he met his wife Mya in Athens, Georgia, and decided instead to pack up their two dogs and drive around the country in his Ford Econoline van, flipping a coin to decide which direction to go. They stopped in San Francisco, stayed in Chicago for a year, and eventually headed West to Portland, where they lived in a trailer on the land of a survivalist commune, leaving after being advised to shoot their dogs to prepare for Y2k. (more…)