Franklin Countys First News

In Preview: Big art from a little can

The artists, Tim Clorius, on the ladder and Matt Moore, at right, are helped by Andrew Coffin to install a large mural at the UMF Art Gallery on Tuesday.

FARMINGTON - After carefully cutting through the tape to free up layers of cardboard, the artist pulled out by the tail a big floppy bass.

"Fish, I love to fish. Fish, it's one of the most beautiful things," its creator Tim Clorius said. It is hard to believe the finely-painted, very realistic-looking bass was not made with fine brush strokes, but, instead, with spray paint -  without the use of stencil, tape or other tricks.

Before the bass and a half dozen other fish were pulled from their cardboard keeper, Clorius with collaborating graphic artist Matt Moore, pieced together, like a giant jigsaw puzzle across one wall of the UMF Art Gallery, a big, exciting, colorful work of aerosol art.

Aerosol artist Tim Clorius pulls out his big bass.

Swirls and circles of bright blues and medium greens and more are mixed with hard-edged dashes and graceful ribbons of contrasting hue that ride along precise lines. The work was created by the freehand use of spray paint and amazingly, the two artists, Clorius and Moore did it by working simultaneously - next to, above or switching places - at a studio in Portland during this month.

The artists, left Tim Clorius and Matt Moore, decide which colors to use to cover the sheet rock screw heads holding up a mural.

"Basically, this is paint shooting out a nozzle," Clorius said of their work. The extremely difficult-to-control method of spray painting, comes fast and furious and  "you've only got only one shot," he said and added, "it's very challenging." The canvas, made of a light, flexible yet rigid PVC material called Sintra, is painted then cut into rectangles for transport and reassembled up on the gallery wall using sheet rock screws.

On Tuesday, the work to install two floors of divergent art subjects and styles,  from the big abstract to the realistic fish,  continued at a rapid pace through the afternoon in order to meet the 5 p.m. deadline for an opening reception of their new exhibit, “Free Form Flow: A Celebration of Collaboration."

"We're both exploring unusual things while collaborating," Moore said of the work.

"Trying to chart new territory," Clorius added.

The two met, as one might expect, painting a wall - a legal wall, that is. While Moore is the founder of MWM Graphics company of Portland, Clorius is a painter who has exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally and  studied fine arts and painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York and at the Maine College of Art in Portland.

Both have been influenced by graffiti art and its artists, but prefer to use the term "aerosol artist" to describe their law-abiding occupations. Moore noted, "if you use a roller or paint brush, no one gives it a thought. But the spray can makes people stop and think of the work as some ominous thing and not serious."

"I respect it, try to look at it, but graffiti is illegal," Clorius said, noting he doesn't tag buildings or participate in other criminal mischief nor does he condone it.

Growing up in Heidelberg, Germany, Clorius, as a young teenager, got his start in art with illegal tagging, "We were obsessed with it, but I got in too much trouble with the law," he said. "It took a toll on my family, caused too much grief." So he stopped all art for a few years then found his true passion was to create art and has legally for 20 years or more. His work now ranges from the wall-size abstract mural to the small and intimate framed old master realism of oil paint.

Tim Clorius and his big bass.

Both artists painting in collaboration say their work continues to evolve exponentially. Ideas flow faster than the paint can be sprayed in what is currently the biggest new art movement in the world.

A close up of the fine lines achieved from the artists' aerosol paint work.

Fish on a floor wait before getting placed up on the wall.

The UMF Art Gallery is located at 246 Main St. in Farmington, immediately behind the Admissions Office. The gallery is open noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, during the UMF academic year and by appointment. For more information, or to make special arrangements, please call 207-778-7002, or email Elizabeth Olbert, director of the UMF Art Gallery, at elizabeth.olbert@maine.edu.

Find out more about Moore's work here.

See more of Clorius' work here.

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