It’s 11:30 PM on a Tuesday night, and I just got home from visiting artist TIM YOUD as he typed Novel #47 out of his 100 Novels Project. He’s currently typing John Rechy’s City of Night at the LACE art gallery on Hollywood Boulevard from June 15 to July 1, 2016 every night from 10 PM to 3 AM. (Info here: http://welcometolace.org/event/overnight-at-lace/)
Tim Youd is an innovative and amazing visual and performance artist. I first met him a year ago when he was typing Novel #36 out of his 100 Novels Project. I had just finished attending and signing my children’s picture book biography, Twenty-Two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank (illustrated by Jamel Akib, Lee & Low Books 2014) at the Summer 2015 American Librarians Association conference in San Francisco. On our way home, we impulsively decided to stop by Salinas, California to visit the National Steinbeck Center. (Because, you know, me = English major.) And this is where we met artist Tim Youd…
In my blog from July 22, 2015, I wrote about meeting artist Tim Youd who was actually inside the real-life trailer John Steinbeck used to write Travels With Charley: In Search of America (1962). He was typing Steinbeck’s book from start to finish on the same model of typewriter John Steinbeck himself used while living in that trailer and writing this travelogue. (If you want to read this blog, go here: http://paulayoo.com/summer-2015-update/
Tim Youd was so cool when I first met him! He answered all my questions about the purpose of his art project, which was to re-type 100 classic and iconic novels in the exact area where these novels were originally written using the same typewriter and/or same model replica typewriter used by the author him/herself.
When I talked with Tim tonight about last year’s meeting, he said that Steinbeck often wrote by longhand, but he did bring a typewriter in his trailer while writing Travels With Charley.
As a writer, I was inspired by Tim’s performance art piece. He has traveled all over the world re-typing entire novels onto a single piece of paper backed with another sheet. He keeps typing on that same piece of paper and runs it through the typewriter until every word has been re-typed. Once he finishes, the two pages present a positive and negative image. These pages are mounted as a diptych, representing two pages of a book.
If you would like to see the final artistic representation of these diptychs, go here: http://timyoud.com/diptychs.html
“I’m retyping 100 novels over a multi-year period as a devotional performance, to really rededicate myself to each and every one of the novels and the text in the novel,” Tim told the BBC News in an interview from 2015 when he typed Lucky Jim by Martin Amis at the University of Leicester using an Adler Universal, the same model used by Amis to write his novel. For a list of novels Tim has already typed, go here: http://timyoud.com/completed-novels.html
So when I heard Tim would be typing his 47th novel this month in Los Angeles, I had to see him! He was typing John Rechy’s City of Night from June 15 to July 1, 2016 at LACE – the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions art gallery on Hollywood Blvd. John Rechy himself attended the opening of this exhibit!
The exhibit features Tim in a glass store-front window typing on an Underwood Model S typewriter, the same one John Rechy used when writing his soon-to-be classic 1963 novel City of Night, which was also one of the first LGBTQIA+ works to cross over to a mainstream audience. Rechy had rented this typewriter and ended up buying it for $40.00 because he loved it so much. He still owns it today. Tim uses a replica of the same typewriter. He also constructed a large-scale version of Rechy’s Underwood typewriter as well as an art piece for this exhibit.
John Rechy wrote his next novel, Numbers, on the same typewriter. Tim Youd will type that novel (Novel #48!) from July 6 to July 15 from 11 AM to 4 PM at the Fern Dell entrance to Griffith Park. Both diptychs of these novels will be installed at the front gallery of LACE along with the oversized typewriter sculpture and a related painting through August 14, 2016.
Thanks for reading my blog! Inspired by Tim Youd’s artistry and creativity, I can’t wait to hibernate in the Writing Batcave soon…
For more info on artist Tim Youd, go here: http://timyoud.com
You can also follow him on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/timyoud/ (Hashtag: #TimTypes)
For more info on the Los Angeles Novels #47 and #48 exhibit at LACE, go here: http://welcometolace.org/event/overnight-at-lace/
Until my next blog, here are some photos of my adventure in the City of Night…
And as always, remember… WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂