Tim Rusterholz

BFA, 2009

Tim Rusterholz is a sculptor and fabricator based in Philadelphia, PA. He received his BFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University (2009) and MFA in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art (2011). Tim’s practice is focused on digital modeling and CAM output processes, specializing in figurative sculpting. He is currently a shop manager at Tyler School of Art while teaching courses in the sculpture department including both traditional and interactive media. Tim also engineers works for various artists and institutions requiring advanced techniques in digital production.

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What have you been up to since graduating from VCU?

Since graduating from VCU, I devoted time to travel in Europe and Africa, collecting experiential research towards my work. I spent the last few years employed as an exhibitions preparator, construction worker, and adjunct professor while developing a small art fabrication business (RustFab LLC) based in Philadelphia, PA. The company specializes in custom production and installation services for artists. More recently I am shifting to a digital platform including 3D file creation for CNC milling/slicing and project proposal layout services using surface modeling and rendering software. Currently I work full-time as the sculpture department technician at Tyler School of Art.

What advice would you give a current VCU Sculpture student?

School is the ideal environment to focus solely on creation without excessive outside influences. Prioritize your practice and develop a broad foundation. Grant yourself the benefit of being able to look back at old work with constant documentation; it can be revealing over time. As obligations intensify with age, it becomes progressively difficult to prioritize the studio. Learning how to exist in the balance while accepting self-doubt, change, and failure is crucial to self-discovery and advancement.

How did VCU prepare you for your current situation?

VCU prepared me by harvesting a perpetual curiosity and drive to continue pushing as an artist, with an ability to reflect on every circumstance with insight and resolve. The poetic and critical awareness of VCU faculty in tandem with the communal bonds of the student body and their overlapping practices has set a standard that inspires me to find similar relationships throughout my professional career. I am constantly on the move, attempting to optimize and designate studio time alongside multiple jobs while looking for opportunities in line with my goals. VCU prepared me for the chaos, and I feel confident following my instincts.

How do you define success?

I define success as having a true equilibrium of values. I enjoy teaching and sharing my technical knowledge, while pushing my own processes beyond their limits. I am a shoprat trying to put myself in all situations allowing me to work with my hands and develop new skills. I continue to race on the road running circuit, having completed multiple marathon majors including a top 400 finish at Boston. Navigating the interplay of work, studio, running, friendship, and new experiences to the best of my potential embodies who I am as a person/artist.

Why did you decide to study sculpture?

I was recruited to VCU for Track and Field as a distance runner with minimal direction within the spectrum of art disciplines. After fulfilling my foundation requirements I made the decision to enroll as a sculpture student with support from my instructors, crediting my early studio courses for paving the way at an inexperienced stage in my career. The fine arts were not entirely on my radar going into school, but became a clear choice after looking into faculty work and the range of graduates from the department. It was difficult for me to pin down what sculpture could potentially be at that point which was more stimulating than confusing as a young artist.