An elephant, a wolf and a lion are carried by parachutes overhead. An oversized shimmering Jerry Garcia keeps watch while David Bowie smokes a cigarette.
Metallica plays over speakers, followed by the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.
Timothy “Timo” Meyerring smiles as he steps out of his studio and into his gallery (The Timo Gallery) in the Third Ward on the first floor of the artist-filled Marshall Building (207 E. Buffalo St.) He chats with gallery visitors from behind a desk, sidelined by stacks of CDs bigger than some of his paintings.
“This is the way a gallery should sound,” the 45-year-old Milwaukee-born painter says. Moments later, “Communication Breakdown” from Led Zeppelin’s first album starts playing. “Case in point,” Timo says with a grin.
Timo says he’s one of just a few master gilders left in the Midwest.
Over the last two years, he’s used that knowledge to refine and re-refine a technique that uses gold, silver and copper leaves to glisten in drastically different ways depending on how the light hits it.
His paintings, oftentimes of rock-and-roll forebears, rely on stark contrasts, as a silvery Bowie silhouette springs out of a curtain of royal secondary colors.
Surrounding these centerpieces are stylized wildlife painting and sculptures by friends of Timo’s, including Jeremy Wolf, who made the paper circus animals held up by parachutes.
Other artists on display hail from Arizona, where Timo spent years working in a hospital burn unit.
“I realized when I was 26 I wouldn’t be able to handle the patient loads in my 50s,” he says.
That’s why, a little less than two decades ago, he started teaching himself to paint. In 1997, he got a BFA in graphic design from the University of Arizona. In 2011, some of his works had been reprinted to become top sellers at Pier 1 Imports and Crate and Barrel.
The rock ‘n’ roll just so happened to come along for the ride.
“I always jam … I love great music,” he says. “I paint to it, for as long as I’ve been painting. It is so fun, inspiring.”