About Tim


Tim Holmes is an American filmmaker and artist and filmmaker working in the outskirts of social evolution, trying to help envision a more equitable future for all. He has worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, designed the UN Women's Peace Prize and was the first American artist ever exhibited solo in the world's largest art museum, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, where his sculptures remain on permanent exhibit. His work has gained notice among some of the world's peacemakers, from the Chinese dissident students of Tiananmen Square to the Physicians for Social Responsibility. President Jimmy Carter, President Vaclav Havel, and Coretta Scott King are among Holmes' best-known collectors.

In his work with Archbishop Desmond Tutu he helped create an international peace center on Robben Island, the gulag where President Nelson Mandela and thousands of others were imprisoned during the dark apartheid years. He also designed the sculpture for the bid for the Olympics by Cape Town, South Africa.

Though Holmes is most well known for sculpture he has worked in a variety of media from museum installations to film. His award-winning series of short Body Psalms films focuses on the value of the body and often appears at special screenings– frequently in social settings outside the art world– in the US and Europe.


English, German

Areas of Expertise

Art, Culture, Democracy, Religion & contemporary society

An idea worth spreading

Toward a Global Democracy- What if there were a way for the entire human family to sit down together to forge a future beyond the divisions of religion, politics, education and economic disparity? It may sound too good to be true but for the first time in history this vision is within our grasp. Nearly every person on the planet, regardless of origin, learned the same rules for cooperating for the greater good of all. We all learned it as kids, by growing up in a family. Those basic values can help us realize the long-envisioned dream of world cooperation. This has suddenly become a reality because of the internet, a tool that will transform everything we do, but more importantly, the way we think.

DemocraticGlobe.com is a model for creating a global ethic that bridges all cultures, nations and religions to find a shared sense of right and wrong, a wiki that can be influenced and accessed by anyone on the planet to increase cooperation and diminish evil.

I'm passionate about

I believe that art can transform the human soul in ways impossible through any other human activity.

Art is the footprints into the journey of aliveness in an endlessly terrifying and erotic world.

Talk to me about

I'm keenly interested in how humanity can survive our own drive to progress often ignoring the real needs of the flesh. We've evolved a level of reason that transcends our compassion, spelling demise!

People don't know I'm good at

Art that transforms from inside; long-range ideas for sustainable evolution; ability to address volatile issues sensitively; religious sensuality; creative; music; mime; humor; great collaborator.

My TED story

I applied with three very different Big Ideas before being accepted as a speaker. I find a new one about every two years. My creativity may be a response to the many serious crises that humanity faces today, not an individual trait but a creative movement sweeping across the world to address our issues before it's too late. My concern is broad, spanning citizenship, democracy, religion, the anatomy of discourse and humor, and of course ART, which I feel is the medicine that will heal the world. As a retired political satirist I have honed skills of approaching difficult subjects sensitively and with humor, knowing we must find brotherhood through humble exchange with those we disagree with. Ultimately we much learn to live together or we die together.

Comments & conversations

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Tim Holmes
Posted 6 months ago
Do you think you have done something in your life to improve this world? If so. Could you explain?
As an artist I've been involved in many international projects to better the world over the years. But I worry that art– which I feel is more powerful than even war– sometimes works too slowly. Our current crises are so dramatic and fast-moving that we need more rapid creative enterprise than is provided by images cast into the stream of culture. I now spend my time thinking of ways that single individuals can help preserve humanity from what appears to be a mad dash to extinction. My contributions have been varied but all have to do with preserving the body (the species) from absorption into the machine of amoral "progress". (I recently gave a TEDx talk on this, called "The Erotic Crisis" which is not yet available on the TED site). But perhaps the most powerful idea I've contributed is a vision for a kind of global citizenship that is now possible through the internet. We are all affected by global issues now, making us global citizens whether we like it or not, but there is no way for individuals to express our civic values beyond our citizenship through smaller governments like cities or nations. We should each have an equal voice in the evolution of humanity regardless of our individual identity or circumstances. I have put forward a model for this vision of individual participation on a global scale at a site called DemocraticGlobe.com. It proposes a format to direct the evolution of civilization not by the narrow interests of great powers but by aggregating human values. I welcome anyone's ideas for bringing such a vision to fruition! Thank you. I can be reached through that site or through my art portal, TimHolmesStudio.com.
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Tim Holmes
Posted about 2 years ago
Jamie Drummond: Let's crowdsource the world's goals
This is a marvelous idea! The unfounded fears surrounding the dangers of people being allowed to run their own affairs date back longer than the inception of democracy. Of course people are caring enough all over the world to address the most crucial issues, many of which are too complex for the old institutions to respond to, as we are seeing with the recent global conferences mentioned. In a egalitarian world only the people are fit to respond to their own problems. We only need a mechanism for organization, cooperation and dialog, as demonstrated in the Arab Spring. The internet is that tool. Here's an idea– We've been putting together a vision for an open-source Democratic Globe which is viewable here: Please send us your thoughts! https://sites.google.com/site/democraticglobe/
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Tim Holmes
Posted about 2 years ago
Will or Can "Open Hardware" replace Capitalism, or at least be the leading drive for people to continue living instead of making just money?
Another great idea from this talk is putting profits last. One thing future generations will take seriously is that quality of life is worth more than money. Happiness indexes affirm what I have found personally– that moving into a life of creativity and service produces a drastic cut in pay, greater happiness and a more meaningful life. What it doesn't account for is what happens to the social environment. As demonstrated in Harada's talk, when one concentrates on creating ideas for a better world, EVERYONE benefits. What could possibly mean more to one lying on their deathbed than to know that one has contributed to the betterment of the planet? This kind of attitude emanates from a vision of a world of abundance rather than one of scarcity. When we are afraid of losing what we have we become cornered animals locked in protection mode. But when we are confident of a world of abundance, sharing, a characteristic that separates civilization from natural tribalism, becomes much more important than hoarding. One day we will all share in a great creative flurry at the roundtable of social evolution. Until then it will be a very few individuals who drive evolution by selflessly giving of their talents and ideas for the benefit not of a higher standard of living but of a higher quality of life. And I think we will find them to be among the happiest people in the world! I think we can do the same thing with democracy itself: https://sites.google.com/site/democraticglobe/
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Tim Holmes
Posted over 2 years ago
Who will help me design the human-powered community?
It's not just a matter of energy, but one of keeping humans central to the power structure (rather than corporations.) I've been hammering together a vision for a response to what seems a rapidly approaching post-state world, where it's people against corporations. I envision a democratic system that is essentially global in scale and undefilable by corporate powers or other systems, called Democratic Globe. See what you think: https://sites.google.com/site/democraticglobe/home -Tim Holmes