The Artist's Practice: Tim Youd

February 1 - 28, 2022

Each month, the gallery is pleased to share images and insight into our artists' practices. Featured this month is artist Tim Youd. Please enjoy the following images of Tim with his work, and of his studio in Los Angeles. 

  • Current Work and Upcoming Projects

    Youd in his studio standing in front of Tree of Life No. 9 and Tree of Life No. 10, 2022. oil pastel on museum board. each 72 x 48 inches.

    Current Work and Upcoming Projects

    During the months of April and May, Tim Youd will retype three novels by American author Willa Cather in Nebraska: O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia. These will be the 72nd, 73rd and 74th performances from the artist's 100 Novels Project


    From April 1-8, Youd will retype O Pioneers!, Cather's fictional account of settlers in the Nebraska prairie, hosted by the Willa Cather Archive at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From April 10-28 at the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Youd will retype the significantly longer novel The Song of the Lark, a semi-autobiographical story of a young woman who leaves her hometown behind for Chicago, New York City, and Europe. Finally, from May 1-10, Youd will retype Cather's best-known novel, My Ántonia, in Omaha in partnership with Joslyn Art Museum. This series of performances continue the artist's yearslong endurance performance, the 100 Novels Project.


  • Typewriter Ribbon Drawings

    Youd holding Vertical (Typewriter) Ribbon No. 5, 2021. colored pencil and graphite on paper. 18 x 24 inches.

    Typewriter Ribbon Drawings

    "The typewriter ribbon. Half an inch wide, made of cotton, made of nylon. Saturated with ink. Red and black. Solid black. Or blue, as Raymond Chandler preferred. The typewriter ribbon recalls noisy newsrooms and clattering typing pools. Sit at a typewriter all day, and you will come away grimy and ink stained. A fresh spool of typewriter ribbon holds the promise of a novel waiting to be written. Maybe the Great American Novel itself. A used spool holds a secret history of words written and rewritten and rewritten again."

    -Tim Youd

    Tim Youd’s colored pencil and graphite drawings bear down on the typewriter ribbon as both an idea and an object. As abstractions, these drawings are both hard-edged images of rectangles within rectangles, others smooth and sharp geometric configurations. But as representations, they are exactly typewriter ribbons, complete with grime and smudge.

  • Ribbons and Spools Drawings

    Typewriter Ribbons and Spools, 2021. colored pencil and graphite on paper. each: 24 x 24 inches. 

    Ribbons and Spools Drawings

    This group of works—which Youd calls Ribbons and Spools, are a translation of the artist’s ongoing series of Typewriter Ribbon Paintings. Those Typewriter Ribbon Paintings, which first premiered at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2015, are made of typewriter ribbon and residue ink. The drawings, by comparison, have no ribbon or ink in them, but Youd constructs them in the same manner as he constructs the paintings—ribbon by ribbon.

    Conceptually, the drawings are linked to Youd’s decade-plus performance project 100 Novels, in which he retypes novels on the same make and model typewriter used by the author in a location related to the book. Youd considers these performances acts of devotional reading; in retyping the novels word for word, he is able to fully immerse himself in the world created by the author. His use of the ribbons—an essential piece of the typewriting experience—is a further exploration of the tools and identity of the novelist. Moreover, he creates his drawings like he retypes the books: one line at a time. The repetitive gestures required by both bodies of work result in a meditative practice for the artist, similar to the altered state achieved when lost in (or when writing!) a good book. 

  • Tree of Life Drawings: From the Artist

    Youd with Tree of Life No. 3, 2021. oil pastel on museum board. 72 x 48 inches. 

    Tree of Life Drawings: From the Artist

    Youd's most recent body of work, the Tree of Life drawings, began last year. When asked about the series, and its inception he wrote the following:
    "In 2021, while preparing for a talk about my art entitled 'Manuscripts as Visual Art,' which was hosted by Claire Gilman, chief curator of The Drawing Center, I had been looking closely at Illuminated Manuscripts, particularly for signs of texture and distress in their ancient pages. In looking closely, I began to recognize a similarity between the patterning of the manuscripts’ elaborately designed lettering and my own Typewriter Ribbon and Spools drawings, which I had been making throughout the quarantine. That recognition led me to make a few sketches of ribbons and spools, horizontal in orientation, and in emulation of aspects of the manuscript lettering. When I turned the page to change the orientation of the drawing to vertical, I saw I had drawn a tree, with a spool as the root ball. It struck me, in its schematic layout of trunk, branches, roots and smaller roots as very much a Tree of Life. Over the ensuing months, I explored variations on this idea mainly through relatively small-scale colored pencil drawings.
    In late 2021, I moved into a new studio space in Inglewood, with good light, high ceilings and plenty of wall space. I wanted to make something significant for my first project. I put two sheets of 6 x 4 feet museum board on the wall, and unpacked my oil pastels. Oil pastels are a fairly new medium for me, dating back to 2019. I knew there was more for me to learn from these pastels, and I hoped they might allow me to move to a larger scale Tree of Life. I wanted to make something with the weight and saturation of paint, while maintaining the essence of the mark-making of drawing. I was so excited by the results of the first two Trees, I put up a couple more sheets. As I worked through those initial oil pastel Trees of Life, the possibilities of the medium began to reveal themselves to me. I looked at the expanse of wall space, measured out the space, and did some math. I thought there is room for twenty-one trees that will make up a forest of the Trees of Life. I’m now working on Tree No. 11, and expect to have my full forest sometime late in 2022, or early 2023."
    -Tim Youd, 2022
  • Current Works & From the Studio

  • Tim Youd (b. 1967, Worcester, MA) is a performance and visual artist working in painting, sculpture, and video. To date, he has retyped 71 novels at various locations in the United States and Europe. Residencies at historic writer’s homes have included William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak with the University of Mississippi Art Museum (Oxford, MS), Flannery O’Connor’s Andalusia with SCAD (Milledgeville and Savannah, GA), and Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House (Rodmell, Sussex). His work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions at CAMSTL, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Hanes Art Gallery at Wake Forest University, The New Orleans Museum of Art, Monterey Museum of Art, Hemingway-Pfeffer Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, University of Mississippi Art Museum at Rowan Oak and the Lancaster Museum of Art and History. He has presented and performed his 100 Novels project at the Ackland Art Museum, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Art Omi, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) and LAXART, and retyped Joe Orton’s Collected Plays at The Queen’s Theatre with MOCA London. His studio is based in Los Angeles.


    View More: About the Artist 


    Read More: Digital Catalog