Tim Hunkin Talk

On the first of November, I went along to my first event by York Art Workers at The Friend's Meeting House.

I was so excited; Tim Hunkin was the guest speaker. I'd seen his cartoons growing up and have always loved his machines.

He stated that :

"The one thing I know is that I didn’t want to work in an office.”

Many of his machines/games are available to see and play on Southwald Pier in Suffolk.

He's been putting machines on the pier for around 20 years. He stated that he really enjoys being out by the water and seeing people enjoy his inventions.

This is how he got started there; he quit making things for museums and started on the pier.

"Basically, it’s a hobby that went out of control.”

He stated that as an engineer, his work is a combination of addiction and love of making machines. He has been creating in his workshop 40 years.

“ When I was 50 I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life."

Hunkin spoke about his invention "The Chiropodist" when it was shown in Covent Gardens. He stated:

“ If you can tell people to do things like this they usually go along with it and I got hooked!”

I was lucky enough to hear about his process for making an arcade machine. He stated:

“ Ideas are cheap and easy to come up with, the difficult part is translating that into a machine.”

Hunkin finds humour in the current affairs of things. He stated that a lot of his ideas come from things he say to his friends in the pub.

“Sitting on the train is a good starting point for ideas.”

He told us about his invention "Supercycle" and how he came up with this.

Essentially, he found great humour in the fact that the Russian team in 2014 were doping entire time.

Hunkin starts with initial sketches and said:

“I often start in the wrong direction, but this is good, because I get absorbed in it.”

He also stated that he’s always trying to make his machines are small is possible to fit in the arcades as he quickly filled them up with his many inventions.


Tim Hunkin, Supercycle Poster, www.timhunkin.com

“I’m usually obsessed with the nerdy details of the project that I’m doing that particular week all day.”

He said that his machines progress as prototype‘s as opposed to drawings.

“Most will be failures but I enjoy it. It means I can find a solution at the end of the day.”

In terms of the "Supercycle", he spoke about having his illustrations for the background cut out of steel. He said he preferred this over laser cutting, as you get the wobbly affect.

Hunkin doesn’t like things to be perfect - he loves it to look handmade.


He showed us a video of his grandchildren using the machine for the first time,

Hunkin uses his Grandchildren as guinea pigs for his new machines. He also said the input from family helps him when he gets stuck.

“It always amuses me how project start and complete chaos and I am able to pull the strings to make it work.”

Hunkin said his process is just making things as he goes along, and essentially, it’s a combination of being a mad inventor and an engineer.

He generally thinks of the rules of the game at the end of the process.

He said he started making Games as opposed to a simple machines as a way of input involving people more and his inventions

“I spend a lot of my life mending things, but that means that I can think of ways to make them better.”

He now has a novelty automation in London which is near Holborn station.

“When I want to learn something new I watch YouTube video so I started doing that”

If you'd like to learn more about Hunkin and his design process, his youtube channel is called "Secret life of components".

“My work is for all generations - it delights me that. to be able to appeal to all generations”

This talk was invaluable, and I count myself very lucky to have been able to attend and hear Hunkin speak in depth about his work. He has been a great inspiration of mine for ages, and he is such a wonderful man.

Tim Hunkin is a revolutionary in not only the art and engineering world, but in merging them together seamlessly. With such a great humour and humble personality, I highly suggest you check his work out for yourself.



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