Tim Yanke was born in Detroit in 1962 as the youngest of six siblings. Yanke’s fascination with Southwest American began to take hold in 1974 during his visits to see his sister at Northern Arizona University. It was at this time that his parents encouraged him to pursue his artistic inklings. The unfortunate passing of his sister a couple of years later deepened his love for the Southwest as it reminded him of her, and he used this love and passion to grow as an artist. Yanke’s first exhibition was a success, selling 23 of the 26 exhibited paintings and leading him to open his own studio a year later. Yanke’s success only grew from there, signing as a full-time artist with PWG in 2007.
“As long as the harmony is there top to bottom, side to side, and its working, then I know I’m onto something and it’s time to step away.”
Yanke has been influenced by abstract painters like Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock. When studying art history, Yanke became fascinated by abstract and impressionist styles, further motivating him to become an artist. He approaches his works with an idea in mind, but doesn’t always know what colors he’ll use until he has begun, adding an organic layer to his technique. He draws viewers in with a variety of media, whether it’s with written words, spray paint, chalk or acrylics, causing them to ponder his messages while finding their own meanings.
His passion for family is also an important part of his philosophy as an artist. His “Neo-Southwest” style was born out of visits to his sister, who attended Northern Arizona University. After she passed away, Yanke’s fervor for the Southwest grew, as it would remind him of visiting her. This inspired him to paint with all of his heart, finding it cathartic, while the Southwest style reminds him of his sister.
Yanke continually returns to the Southwest, where he collects Native American art and artifacts he uses in his paintings. His creativity is renewed with each visit to locations like New Mexico, where the colors of the sky, ground and everything in between radiate with energy and warmth.