All About the People: Tim Guthrie's Home Art GalleryAug 27, 2021 04:02PM ● By Kim Carpenter
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Paintings, prints, photographs, ceramics, glass, and vinyl. Lots and lots of vinyl. Tim Guthrie’s home, nestled on a snug block in west Omaha’s Candlewood neighborhood, is an art and music lover’s haven. Equal parts gallery and listening space, the residence exemplifies how to collect and live with art in a way that’s aesthetically meaningful and deeply personal.
A professor and director of graphic design and filmmaking at
Creighton University, Guthrie is also an award-winning experimental
filmmaker and visual artist known for his wide-reaching embrace of all media. He is as likely to work in printmaking, painting, and photography as he is sculpture, ceramics, and installation.
That approach shows in his vast art collection, which he’s been steadily building since his early 20s. Name a medium, and he probably has it. Until recently, though, he lacked the space to display all he had amassed. When looking to move from his previous residence in Country Club in fall 2020, Guthrie wanted a home that could showcase what had, for the most part, languished in his basement.
Although not initially smitten with the residence built in the late 1990s, he saw its potential. The charming exterior belies what has a decidedly midcentury feel on the interior. Soaring ceilings, a kitchen courtyard, and minimal built-in furniture in warm wood tones were some of the winning features. Its abundant wall space, which would allow him to hang art salon-style, sealed the deal.
Despite being a prodigious artist himself, Guthrie shies away from hanging his own work in this home, but he has dozens of pieces by friends. He took them to Visions Customs Framing, where he chose frames that range from sleek and contemporary to gilded and gold, depending on how the artists themselves wanted their work to be displayed.
Those artists are national, regional, and local, with the bulk of the collection made up of the latter. It’s a veritable who’s who of Omaha’s well-known and best-loved artists: Bart Vargas, Wanda Ewing, Liz Vercruysse, Shawnequa Linder, Reagan Pufall, and Kristin Pluhacek, to name a few. Vargas’ works enjoy pride of place in a colorful tableau at the top of the staircase. Pufall’s serene casts of Guthrie and his parents’ faces are hung in an alcove near the kitchen.
Jean Incontro, who owns Visions, said those artists are important to Guthrie not so much for the pieces they created, but for the relationships they have with the homeowner.
“Basically, Tim’s collection is a history of his past. All his pieces are from people he knows or admires,” Incontro observed. “He was so excited to bring in the pieces and give them a new life. It’s all about the people, far more so than the actual work. It’s fun to see and way more personal than just putting pretty things on the walls.”
In layout, the home offered Guthrie ideal expanses for showcasing the collection. The courtyard means he can hang pieces high, including Troy Muller’s large-scale “pastries as protons” painting and a spritely ceramic bird perched on a faux security camera by Iggy Sumnik.
It also means he can go low with about 10 whimsical small pieces hung “nose-height” for his 9-year-old puggle, Gozer, to enjoy.
The dark gray dining room was the only space Guthrie changed.
“I repainted it a lighter gray,” he said. “The color helps the pieces stand out, as well as makes the room feel brighter.”
Focal points in the dining room include a large, spherical red-and-black clay Lars Rosenblad sculpture, which anchors one corner and is paired with a bright yellow dot painting by Jamie Burmeister. Ethereal encaustic pieces by Caleb Coppock and Robert Cook soften the opposite wall, while an Endi Poskovic work in bright reds and blues adds visual punch.
The built-in sideboard and breakfront feature an array of smaller works, including ceramics, soft plush pieces, and an antique clock that belonged to Guthrie’s parents. The star artworks here, though, are unexpected: a chair and the dining room table itself, both by Peter Cales. The chair, functional and sculptural, boasts white wings and adds a playfulness to the space. The table includes deep display windows ideal for showcasing ceramic works, including bowls and a gun sculpture with a sushi muzzle by Sheri Leigh O’Connor. A built-in sliding floral puzzle and secret drawers make dining a fun affair.
“Furniture is also art,” Guthrie asserted. “To get a really nice dining table costs a lot of money, and I’d rather give that money to an artist. Why spend a lot and get something mass-produced when you can get something unique?”
A “vinyl room” just off the kitchen features a wall showcasing some 9,000 albums. A fireplace adds a cozy feel, while an abstract painting by Mads Anderson complements the collection with a gridlike design that mimics record spines. The music is as eclectic as the artworks, with jazz, soul, classical, rock, indie, and more all comprising the vinyl library. That kind of assortment means no matter what his guests’ musical tastes are, there’s an album to suit his listening audience.
Guthrie continues to collect art. His most recent addition was a kitchen table created by Michael Stodola of Milwaukee Modern in Wisconsin. The item includes sections of a dismantled armoire and rocking chair, as well as strips of wallpaper from Guthrie’s former home. Posters from vacations are also incorporated, bringing extra layers of sentimentality to the place where he enjoys his morning coffee.
The table, like every other piece of art in this home, underscores the importance of relationships. Stodola and Guthrie met while in middle school in Ralston, went on to high school together, and have since kept in touch.
“I’m just amazed—honestly jealous—of Tim’s collection,” Stodola shared. “As an artist, it just blows me away. When you go into his home, you look up, you look down, and there’s art. It’s like that in every single room. When you know the history of the pieces, you really see the success of the collection that he’s created.”
Guthrie said he’s not done by a long stretch. He still wants to surround himself with art and, more importantly, the people he cares about. “There are so many more friends I still need to get things from because I want them to be a part of my home.”