On the eighth floor of the historic Nicholas Building on Melbourne’s Swanston Street, Tim Fleming has carved out a tidy creative niche for himself and his brand Flatland OK, Ben Morgan reports
February 12th, 2013
A diverse portfolio of work – from illustrations and small collectible objects, to giant mirrored hands and interior installations – has seen Tim Fleming play with scale, materials and process in exciting ways.
“It’s weird when you start out making small objects, then you get the opportunity to just have them massively scaled up, it’s a really awesome experience,” Fleming says of turning his ‘hand mirror’ into two giant versions for Sydney-based joinery company, Intermain.
“It’s like that’s how I’d envisaged them in the first place, but had to settle for years and years just making small versions, then all of a sudden it happens. It’s interesting also, in terms of scale, how a little drawing on a piece of paper, or an idea, can be in such a small scale, then realised in such a large scale and still look almost exactly the same. It’s really quite amazing.”
A special edition pendant for Pieces Of Eight
This was by no means the first large-scale work Fleming had completed. In 2010 he collaborated with lighting retailer Euroluce on the design of a permanent installation in their Sydney showroom. The project certainly presented some challenges.
“With the Euroluce project, working with steel was pretty painful, because I’d never worked with steel and it was fabricated in a big warehouse outside of Sydney. It was a bit like they saw me as this skinny artist wanker, which wasn’t great, and because I don’t live in Sydney it was difficult.
Future Relic A
“Because I like to have a lot of control over things it’s quite hard to just go ‘There it is’, and to not see how it’s been made,” he says. “I didn’t enjoy the process, but they did a great job. As a functional thing, that was the biggest scale thing I’d done, but I’d been working on installations as an artist for quite some time, and that experience crossed over nicely.”
Future Relic objects A&B
Working with a number of materials – from plywood and plastics to steel and brass – Fleming has gradually grown his skill set, with many of his smaller pieces made in his workshop within the rabbit warren of creative spaces in the Nicholas Building. “I don’t do anything that tricky really. I keep it pretty simple and can figure things out.
“When I was doing a fair bit of building, I did have my Dad around. He’s pretty old-school; he can build boats and things like that. He’s an engineer, and his father was a carpenter and cabinetmaker. So there were always people I could ask. But like with anything I like to try to figure it out for myself, which is weird because you ultimately acquire a set of skills that are particular to you.
A recent illustration of a junk yard in a Parallel Universe by Tim Fleming
“I like objects that you can use as a table, or a chair, rather than more of a trinket. Although, it doesn’t really concern me that much. If a small thing is fine and made out of beautiful materials, I’m happy. I think it’s the preciousness and quality of it that interests me.”
Fleming’s latest range ‘Future Relics’ is available from Craft (Victoria) and the Flatland OK Etsy Shop. He also plans to present a new series of illustrations and a book later this year.
Tim Fleming portrait © Bryan Sun
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