Cafe Art: Tim Hallinan

With a thriving art scene in Beverly, and Montserrat right around the corner from the cafe, art has always been a big part of the culture at Atomic. The number of loyal customers, rockstar employees, and great friendships we've gained over the years from Montserrat is unimaginable, and is something we never take for granted!

 Each month, the walls of the cafe display the work of a different local artist with the help of one of our team members, Kyle Lopez. This month, with the help of Kyle, we were able to get some insight behind the artist's work with a Q&A.

So without further ado, meet Tim Hallinan!

Can you start with an introduction, both of yourself and of the body of work?

I’m a painter and mixed media artist as well as a landscape designer and I’m consistently alternating between these fields. Though my formal education in landscape architecture and urban design, I had the opportunity to enroll in a number of classes outside my major, including several in the painting department, while attending the Rhode Island School of Design. This had a big impact on me and I continue to explore the techniques and ideas I took away from these classes.

I’m interested in the endless geometry, structure, and sometimes lack of order of the urban environment. This urban geometry is where my ideas begin. With a little sense of where I want to end up, I start to apply and scrape away paint to and from the canvas or wood board until something concrete materializes. Random and unexpected compositions slowly become part of a larger, cohesive idea. It’s often initially very vague but eventually a solid idea develops and starts to appear on the surface.

As a landscaper do you find influence from your job within your art work or vice versa?

My approach to design, as well as the aesthetic principles I’ve developed as a landscape designer, has definitely influenced my painting. As a designer, I’ve often been tasked with creating order where there is chaos. I look at my painting in much the same way. I search for some sort of structure in muddled layers of paint. My work as a painter has allowed me to explore this idea of finding order at a more abstract level and given me the opportunity to expand upon my work as a designer as I delve into spatial compositions with more freedom.

In some cases your work strongly reflects the natural landscape, is this a specific attempt or do you intend to be purely abstract?

I intend my work to be purely abstract, though I do find much of my work to be influenced by architectural or landscape plans and maps. This is not intentional, however. I’m not thinking as a designer while I paint, but certain aspects of that training finds its way into my work.

I’ve noticed your work has a lovely textural quality, greatly enhanced by the use of what seems to be paper scraps or pages of books. I was hoping you could talk a little bit about the collage aspect of your work. 

When I incorporate text from magazines or books into my work it’s less about what the text says and more about what textural qualities will result when I paint over it or scrape it away or tear it off once it’s adhered to the surface. Sometimes the results are unexpected and will steer the composition into a new direction.

Continuing on that, how important would you say found objects are in your practice? 

A found object would be interesting to me if I thought it had the potential to create a unique textual quality which I’d be unlikely to achieve with what I already have in my studio.

To finish up, I was wondering if you find any influence or inspiration in other artists, whether contemporary or historical?

A few artists I really admire are Richard Diebenkorn, Eva Hess, Richard Long, Robert Rauschenberg and Antoine Puisais.


You can find more about Tim Hallinan at his website,, and on Instagram @tim_hallinan.

Special thanks to Kyle Lopez for his help with our rotating art program, for the photos of Tim's work, and for making this Q&A happen! You can find out more about Kyle at his website, , and on Instagram @zepolelyk.


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