Behind him, taped to a gray filing cabinet, are a few photos and some grandchild-made drawings. One features a tracing of a little blue hand accompanied by the words “for Grandpa Tim.”
“Grandpa Tim,” or Tim Bird, is the owner of Artist Corner, a local art supply store in Orem that sells art supplies and mattes and frames artwork, prints and scans. It also offers art classes and even serves as a gallery to display and sell art.
Bird seems at home in the art store, wearing jeans and a sage green pullover and conversing easily with customers, many of whom he seems to know well.
But Bird, though he’s made art since childhood, hasn’t always been in the art business. In fact, he owned and ran computer stores for over a decade. However, as the computer market became more competitive, Bird found he wasn’t enjoying his business anymore. He said there was “a computer store on every corner.” He decided to start moving in a new direction.
“I might as well get into art – I love it,” Bird explained of his reasons for opening an art store.
Around 1983, Bird began the transition into the art business. At first he began devoting half of his time to the computer business and the other half to teaching art lessons. Eventually his brother took over his computer business and Bird was able to give his full attention to art.
Bird, a former business major, says he wishes he had majored in art back in college. However, with Artist Corner he has found a way to combine his skills from both the art and business fields.
In addition to running Artist Corner, Bird continues to teach some art lessons and to hone his own artistic skills.
“I don’t see myself as Greg Olsen,” said Bird, who describes himself as a growing artist.
Bird works to improve his artistic techniques and feels his art has improved quite a bit over the years. He took some art classes in college and has also taken lessons from local professional artists. He also reads art books and is active in creating his own artwork. The type of art he does most is airbrush drawing and sketching. Much of his artwork, along with work from other local artists, is for sale at Artist Corner.
In addition to with working on his own artistic skills, Bird takes time to help improve the skills of others.
Bird’s cousin, Andy Bird, came into the shop to teach an art class for home-schooled children in one of the shop’s art classrooms. Andy explained that before Bird began helping him, he “couldn’t draw a stick figure to save [his] life.”
In 2008, Andy broke his back and it was at that time that Bird invited him to come and learn about creating art. Art became a new hobby for Andy and has also helped him to look at the world through new eyes. Andy says art has even helped him perform better in college by training him to see from more perspectives. Along with his schoolwork improving, Andy’s art has continued to improve to the point that now some of his pieces are for sale at Artist Corner.
“He’s pushed me to excel even when I didn’t think I could,” said Andy of his cousin.
As for Bird, he says his favorite thing about the art business is “getting to know people [and] getting to interact with all the creative people around.”
Some of Bird’s favorite customers are students. Students comprise about 80 percent of Bird’s customers and he offers them a 10 percent discount on art supplies. He remembers being a college student and calls the bargain his “feeding the college students” discount.
To visit Bird and see what Artist Corner has to offer, visit the shop on 380 South Orem Blvd in Orem.
Bird says the shop is “here to help.”
By Sierra Wilson