Artist Q+A: Tim Starnes

What kind(s) of art do you specialize in?


Tim Starnes is an American playwright meets entrepreneuritainer – current owner and CEO of Ethereal Crack, largest provider of ghost tours in the United States, and other tourist trap attractions – he claims credit as being one of the world’s few “backyard theme park” owners. When not running Ethereal Crack and wrangling staff and his family, he writes stageplays that seem as if they have come from the pages of an irate history textbook left to go on an endless loop on an endless rollercoaster in an endless rainstorm, with periods of history shamelessly pulped together with fictional characters based on real figures, and then heavily peppered with autobiographical stints tinged with aspects of horror-comedy, cheap thrillers, German expressionism, and film noir.

Interested in comedy as black as licorice floating in the darkest corner of space (where nobody can hear the critics scream,) punchy satire, absurdism-tainted realism, and biting hard, he is here to prove that it is great fun (and exercise) to be run out of town by an angry mob, especially when you have style about it.

What first attracted you to art?

It’s what I’ve always loved doing – I have always loved entertaining people. Unfortunately, unless you live in NYC or LA, and are very lucky, doing just that is extremely difficult without being a small-time party clown, magician or artist – you might be lucky to get your name in the paper – especially in rural North Carolina, where I’m from.

What made you want to do it as a profession and not a hobby?

It’s just one of those natural callings in life – I can’t explain it, or maybe I’m just psychologically messed up and have an interior need to entertain people to validate myself. Your pick.

Who are your favorite artists and how have they influenced your work?

John Waters, Terry Pratchett, Terry Gilliam, William S Burroughs, Frank Lloyd Wright, Florenz Ziegfeld, Johnny Carson, and many more.

What is your attitude towards art in our time period?

I feel that art currently lacks substance. Have you watched a TV or a movie in the past ten years? Not even late-night TV isn’t enjoyable anymore now that David Letterman has left. The status of art is so incredibly sad. CGI and low-grade writing has replaced what used to be great about the artform – and if you check out my work, I’m no prude! It isn’t the content itself, but a lack of thoughtfulness or ingenuity behind it.

What is your advice for people who want to have professional careers as artists?

Drink a lot of coffee, and don’t give up. If an idea doesn’t work, throw in the towel and move on to the next thing, but don’t act like it didn’t happen. Things also take time – don’t be afraid of that.

Where can we view your work and/or buy it?

Check out my current venture at or @EtherealCrack on Twitter.

Posted in: Art

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