Artist Timothy Raines has been into cars since he was a little kid. The Austin native spent his childhood drawing his favorite four-wheeled treasures. It wasn’t racing or mechanic work that the young Raines would end up doing, but art. And often art involving cars. “I drew a lot of cars as a kid and always made art as a hobby,” Raines says. “I never really pursued a career as an artist because I didn’t want to be an illustrator or whatever. For me, after a hard day, art was relaxing, not demanding. But eventually I touched on a more abstract style while painting a house I’d purchased. Doing more abstract work really opened my eyes.” He began emulating his idols—Rothko, Pollock—before turning his hand to more realistic work, something in between his two styles. “I wanted more control. I started doing more expressionist stuff, painting flowers. Then I thought, if I can do a flower, I can do a horse.” Raines had his first solo show at a coffee shop in Austin near his home. Thirty percent of what was put up was sold, a true accomplishment for a first show. He landed in Sarasota after his wife, Michelle, came to the area to get her pilot’s license.
Raines began experimenting with abstract interpretations of his favorite car logos and showed his work at the annual St. Armands Circle Invitational Arts Show, where he got the attention of a representative of Aston Martin, whose logo he had painted. Since then, he has been commissioned by art and car collectors, corporate offices of auto industry giants, such as Michelin, and even for Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong organization.
“The work is done by basically dropping paint from a high level.” Raines splits his time between Austin and Sarasota, keeping a studio in both locations. His Sarasota space once belonged to a local candymaker and chocolatier. “There are worse places to be an artist than Sarasota. And there’s very few places that are better. Austin has a great music scene and the creative spark, sure. You can go to almost any bar and catch a great show. But Sarasota is a great place as far as art appreciators and collectors go.”
TEXT BY ASHTON GOGGANS