Saturday night at Seeing Things Gallery was a reunion of sorts—and a memorial. Patrons hugged and reminisced about legendary pro skateboarder and San Jose native, Tim Brauch (1974-1999). The occasion was “Timspiration,” an art exhibition dedicated to the memory of Brauch.

Despite the singular subject, artists and photographers brought a wide range of individual styles to this collection, all with the goal of capturing the protean Brauch, who died of sudden cardiac arrest at age 25—and who has served as an inspiration for a generation of skateboarders both in the South Bay and around the world. Almost every medium was represented in the show. A video of old collected footage plays amidst the collection of photos, letters, paintings, mixed-media installations and sculptures by artists from Russ Pope to Scotty Greathouse. Some of the best pieces are the painted skateboards by longtime Brauch friend and professional skateboarder Jason Adams. There is also a gorgeous engraved apple made from broken skateboards by Israel Forbes, another friend and professional skater.

The memory of Tim Brauch is enlivened by such an eclectic and personal collection of art, but the photographs (including the cover of Thrasher magazine) also give visitors—who may know little of San Jose’s important role in the history of the sport—a small glimpse into the story of South Bay skateboarding.

Not only is there history in these pieces, but there is familiarity. As a local professional, Brauch brought considerable exposure to San Jose in the ‘90s through the unlikely medium of a sport then in disrepute. San Jose is represented in the collection through letters, tribute paintings and photographs. In many of the shots, Brauch can be seeing doing tricks against the backdrop of Downtown or an overpass on Highway 101.

The skateboarding world excels at merchandising, and an extensive collection of commercial items at the show captures this. Beanies, t-shirts and skateboards with original artwork have been provided by Vans off the Wall, Brauch’s sponsor, which also sponsored the event.

For many, the highlight of the collection is a zine made especially for the show. It contains a simple and elegant collection of photographs of Tim Brauch in his natural element: skating, laughing, smiling. As much as any artwork on the walls, the heartfelt and handmade zine captures what made Brauch a legend during his short life, and what makes him an icon today.

Timspiration: Art + Photography inspired by Tim Brauch
Runs thru Sep 5
Seeing Things Gallery