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Coffee + Portrait Series | jim Tidman


Meet Jim Tidman

Jim Tidman is a multi-talented, get your hands dirty, learn by doing, renaissance man. A musician, a painter, a writer, a mechanic, a photographer – he fixes boats – reads history – he never gets bored. Doing stuff helps calm the chaos in his brain he explains – something I can totally relate to.

Growing up, Jim Tidman was the kid who was constantly in trouble. His natural charm, good heart and hutzpah drew others into his shenanigans. He was an ADHD, Dyslexic kid in the ‘70’s when there was no diagnosis for that sort of thing – the kid in the Blue Group – he calls it. Always doing stupid stuff – the kind you die from, go to jail for or smarten up from.

Jim is Loyal. Loving. He supports and identifies as an underdog. Family – his wife and kids – are the most important thing to him; that and being a responsible part of society.

I ask Jim about three significant moments in his life. He talks about the birth and personalities of each of his three children. He is appreciative he says, to have and enjoy them and their life together.

I ask him about meeting his wife for the first time. He tells me about the exact moment he first saw her.

He was returning to his old apartment to pick up some stuff he had left behind and he hears a woman singing and playing guitar in the front room as he walks up the stairs. He knocks on the door and Angie opens the door wearing a white housecoat.

They have nothing in common he says. She is practical, straight forward, organized, responsible and all of those type of things – and I am the exact opposite – he tells me, emphatically laughing at the very idea of it.

I ask him how that works. He explains that they make each other better because they see the world from a different perspective and so help one another find that thing they don’t have. They complement one another. Married 29 years. Three kids.

As his object, Jim has brought with him two journals from his youth selected at random – suggested, of course, by his wife. He explains that the journals have – no stuff at all about the future – he never really contemplated it that much. I interpret them as metaphoric examples of how life changes and each has their own path.

I ask him if he can pinpoint and is willing to share a moment in his life where his perspective changed.

He starts right off – I used to fight a lot – and there was this one night.

He’s out with his buddy, his best friend at the time, they are drunk – and run into some Skin Heads. His buddy might have said something funny to them from across the street – he was a funny guy – and they take umbrage with us – as Jim describes it. They come over and start a fight.

Jim is fighting his guy and he looks over to see his friend – who is not­ a fighter ­- getting knocked unconscious and his face kicked in by two guys – and he tells me that he went ballistic. The cops come and take away the skin heads. His best friend gets taken to the hospital and Jim goes home and has a “Like, what am I doing?” moment – realizing and seeing how wrong things could go.

He tells me of the need he felt to go to Angie later that night and how it was the first time in his life that he had felt that there was something for him to lose, that there was a future for him. It was a stake in the ground moment he tells me. He began to figure out his shit – still a work in progress he insists