We had the good fortune of connecting with Tobias Fike and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tobias, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m a kid from the Midwest. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and moved to Kansas City when I was 10. I ended up going back to Lincoln for undergraduate studies, before moving to Denver after college. The impact of growing up in those places is probably beyond anything I am consciously aware of, but it has affected the way I make art. It starts with my muted color palette, and my gravitation towards minimalism. I equate these preferences to those vast, open prairie landscapes, with monochromatic scenery. Also, family has always been important to me, something passed down from my parents, and an upbringing where I would frequently see my father’s family of 60+ people. I have even included these family members in my work, by once having them all clap to my heartbeat for one minute.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I take a micro/macro approach to art making, dealing with very personal topics of family, loss, and expanding out to aspects of the cosmos. In the end, I believe these are universal themes, as I tap into what it is to be alive and human. I’m proud of many things, professionally, but mostly that I have stayed with my desire to be an artist and the impulse to never give up. I always want to accomplish more, but I have been fortunate in the things I’ve done so far. I got to where I am today through support from family and some stubbornness. An art career is not always easy, but I don’t really know what is. Challenges are a part of life and a career. Persistence is the only way to “overcome” them. Sometimes, this tenacity just means finding alternate routes. I’m motivated by rejection and failures, so I’m never short on motivation. Biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way, since life is short, is to appreciate the joys of friends and family as much as you can. You will never regret the extra effort it sometimes takes to visit a friend, see family, or do the things you really love.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a fun question to think about, because I haven’t been able to do much of this for the last year. So, I can fantasize. I’d start by taking them to the campus where I work, Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. It is such a beautiful, hidden gem. We could catch any art exhibitions that were up, and they could see where, in a normal year, I spend much of my time. And, because it is conveniently located behind Casa Bonita, we could stop for a meal there. I know people complain about the food, but I grew up going there when I would come to Colorado as a kid to visit my mother’s parents. I truly love that place, and believe it was influential in my art making. I frequently create or use faux objects, and even fabricate my own “nature.” I would want to take visitors to Tank Studios, where I had a studio space for years before recently developing my in-home studio and moving out. I still have many friends there, so it would be fun to walk through and see what people were working on. We would also spend time in Golden, and hit Woody’s for all you can eat pizza. I’d want to take them to David B. Smith Gallery and the MCA Denver, and then over to Linger and Forest Room 5, all of which are very conveniently close to one another. Depending upon the time of year, i.e. warm months, we could float down Boulder Creek. And, while in Boulder, we could stop into the Boulder MoCA and eat at the Tea House. Again, depending upon the season, it would be fun to catch a Nuggets or Avalanche game as well. Now I say all this, but, in reality, I’d probably just sit around with them, play some video games, make bad decisions, and eat junk food nonstop.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents have always been supportive. My wife and daughters are what inspire and motivate me.