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Tim Portlock’s Chronicles of De-Industrialization

"Salon," digital print, 2011.
“Salon,” digital print, 2011.


Originally trained as a muralist, Tim Portlock began experimenting with digital media platforms in the late ’90s. He has since mastered a variety of tools, from gaming software to 3-D animation, and has used them to make art that investigates the social and economic impact of America’s rapid de-industrialization. A member of Vox Populi in Philadelphia, and a professor at Hunter College of The City University of New York, Portlock’s works have been shown around the world, including solo and group exhibitions at the Tate Modern, London; Los Angeles Center for Digital Art; the Ars Electronica Museum, Linz, Austria; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois. Portlock is a recent Pew Fellow, and is in residence at 18th Street through a partnership with The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

My work is created using digital technology and is informed by the western painting tradition. I create large inkjet prints based on the empty and abandoned buildings that are typical to post-industrial cities. While my work appears photographic the imagery is actually constructed from 3D simulations of real world buildings. To create these images I use 3D special effects software and computer game authoring tools. Because I am combining technology and subject matter that are not typically associated with each other in an art context it is not always easy to briefly explain my work.

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