At the very start of the first Suffoca website, my opening blog post was a heads up and appreciate of the Hundreds, talking about how I was inspired by there way of living and connection with real life.

Years on, who would of knew I would have the chance to be apart of there crew. As well as everything else I get up to, I will be additionally sharing stories, interviews and other oddities via The Hundreds to showcase the London and the UK, or just my movements.

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You can catch my opening blog post, introducing myself and what I do here – SUFFOCA :: THE BIG SMOKE

Pretty stoked on my feedback I received, I jumped straight in to it with an interview with my good friend and creative guru Timba Smits, have a peek in on it below.

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Meet Timba Smits, creator of cool shit, collector of taxi light signs, Australian, and 80% beard. Currently, Creative Director of TCOLondon (Little white lies, Huck, and 71A Gallery).

Timba tells us how a competition he didn’t at first want to apply for pretty much changed his life.



BOYCE: Where do you call home?
TIMBA: Well, I grew up in a place called Mount Eliza, which is about an hour from Melbourne in Australia. A nice leafy suburb surrounded by mountain national parks, creeks, rivers, and ponds. So I was a very much an outdoorsy kind of a kid; didn’t really have too many friends. I spent a lot of time drawing at a young age, playing with Legos, G.I. Joes, and just kinda putting my wild imagination to play, which you know, I haven’t stopped with at the age of 35. I think it was when I won the grade six drawing competition, for Raphael the Ninja Turtle—the best Ninja Turtle. I thought, “Oh man, this is awesome!”

After finishing high school, I moved straight up to the city. My family was great. Growing up, I had the perfect childhood. I didn’t want to run away from home to get away from my family, I just wanted to get to the city so I could explore art. And it was soon after moving that I got to Melbourne that I discovered this whole new world out there. It was a couple years later that I opened up my first studio space called Timba Gallery, and exhibited friends’ and my own work. I worked out of there and fully lived out of there. [I] had a whole bunch of people come through, travelers from Denmark to Ireland. I did not travel out the country till I was 30, but I felt like I had been everywhere because of all these people coming through.

Closing the Timba Gallery after a few years, I was very young [and] didn’t really know what I was doing. In 2008, I opened another gallery, called Gorker Gallery, with some friends and ran that till I moved here in 2010. They were fun times. Till this day they are some of the best days of my life, killing it in Melbourne, but it got to the point where I wanted to grow my work, and the only way I could do that [was] to reach overseas.

So how did you get yourself to London?
My friend said, “You should enter this competition [The British Council Realise Your Dream Awards], you would kill it.” I replied, “I’m not the kinda competition sort of person,” and left it at that. Then the night before I thought, “Fuck it, what’s the harm,” and rushed my application before midnight on the deadline. A week later, I got a call saying I was shortlisted, and went through the whole process and managed to get to the final and just missed out that year. I then went on the following year and won!

What did you have to do?
You basically just need to explain/pitch to the British Council what your dream is, and my dream was to create more awareness for my magazine and be more internationally recognised for my art. I entered my dream and showed the criteria of proactively trying for that dream, then the British Council come in and give you that step up. So yeah, I won in 2009 and I was awarded a full paid scholarship to come to London.


Your First Move…
Straight away, I set up an exhibition called Lyrics and Type, which was an extension of one I previously did in Melbourne, which was hugely successful. What it was, was taking song lyrics and giving those to illustrators and getting them to interpret in to some sort of poster. It’s kind of common now, but it definitely had its place back then. The exhibition was picked up by a huge amount of media over here. Computer Arts Projects picked it up and really ran with it, giving us a huge feature in their magazine, then following that up by asking me to work on the cover for the next issue and it snowballed from there. It was like a blur for me that first year, and this is the stuff I was trying to attempt to do in Melbourne. That exhibition was a slingshot for me, for work and the magazine. After the Lyrics and Type exhibition, I thought to myself, “There’s no way I can go back now, this place is amazing.”

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Read on at The Hundreds.com

Till next time.

Toodle Pip!