Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Just Tim Allen, waxing poetic about his collection of paintings from Guided By Voices' Tobin Sprout

Photo: Roy Rochlin (Getty Images)

It’s easy—and Allen himself doesn’t help on this point—to reduce Tim Allen to a few grunts and a caricature of conservative talking points, sounding off on “PC culture” and suggesting that Hollywood liberals are the real fascists operating in America at the moment. (They’re really, really not.) But all that “Auuuuoooogh?”-ing obscures the fact that Allen is actually a pretty interesting guy in his personal life, something that shines through quite strongly in this very weird interview he recently gave on an extremely niche subject: The photo-realistic art of former Guided By Voices member Tobin Sprout.

This comes to us courtesy of Superchunk’s Jon Wurster, who pointed out the strangely detailed conversation on his Instagram earlier today. The interview proper—with social media company Flood Content’s Tobin R.—is an interesting look at the impulses that drive Allen creatively, as he talks through the appeal of Sprout’s art, which he’s collected extensively, and which simultaneously combines photo-realism with cartoonish exaggerations that make his subjects (often industrial or commercial products) seem larger than life.


Regardless of your personal feelings about Allen, it’s nevertheless fascinating to hear him talk at length about something he’s clearly passionate about, up-to-and-including commissioning Sprout (more famous for his solo musical work, and for the 10-plus years he spent with GBV) to recreate images from the Home Improvement set, so as to have slightly exaggerated versions of scenes from his daily life populate his home. (Also, his house apparently includes scary rabbit paintings by Sprout in his kids’ rooms, and at least one secret door that he refuses to talk about in detail, all of which suggests that Tim Allen might secretly be the conservative Willy Wonka.)

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