Forces at Work: Visual Artist Jon Timm

If you’re not familiar with Party Boyz, get excited for their Sadie Hawkinz dance tomorrow night. The two girls behind the local Portland music podcast have curated an evening with prizes, a kissing booth, and music from Minden, Animal Eyes, and Boone Howard. We chatted with with John Timm, who crafts trippy and otherworldly visuals. Working with local artists like Dreckig, Minden, Fog Father, No La La and more, Timm takes live elements and mixes it with glitched out clips. Catch him at the doing his thing at the dance this Thursday!

How did you start doing visual work?

I have always experimented with VHS and videos and love to make weird home movies. I really like strange and interesting footage and find myself drawn to other interesting visuals. I found a new interest in glitch videos and analog equipment and had recently purchased a Tachyon+ glitchbox from Logan Owlbeemoth. That is a circuit-bent device used to alter video signals which adds color, static, or other odd blips to source materials. I posted a few video projects on Instagram and was approached by the band Talkative to run their visuals for the night. I thought the projections added a lot to the show and that it had potential to turn into something more. I started with a really simple set-up of just a VCR and glitchbox and grew into more equipment later.

Do you have a background in film or photography?

Officially no. But I have always had an interest in VHS since childhood and it has been a source of inspiration for me. I used to make movies, phone recordings, put security cameras in the bushes at home, things like that. I like to work with old equipment and bounce things around from one medium to another.

I do have a background in music though, as I have my own band, Bleach Blonde Dudes. I think it gives me perspective and helps me appreciate each band’s style. I think of myself kind of like a “light-synthesizer” player. I do a lot of live effects and change colors and glitches to the beat. I try to sense what the band is doing and match my visual performance to their music and vibe.