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BCC Professor is a Man of Many Talents

April 19, 2013 by admin

By Jeanne Donnelly

   Some people don’t know Tim Burke is a college professor. In certain circles he’s known, as an artist. 
   With a masters in Contemporary American Poetry and Humanities from SUNY University in Buffalo, N.Y., Burke’s journey into the art world took him around the world and back. 
   He’s worked as a college traveler for McGraw Hill Publishing, a paralegal for Legal Aid, but eventually found himself working as a deck hand on a fishing boat in Hawaii and then teaching at the University of Hawaii and Obama’s alma mater, Punahoe School.
   It was in Hawaii in 1975 where Burke shared a house with a couple of professional artists. Although he always had an appreciation for art, it was through this friendship that he refined his skills. Each morning, they would walk the island to find new scenes to sketch. With his friends coaching, Burke’s art improved dramatically.
   Upon his return to New Jersey in 1981, Burke decided to pursue his love of art while working as a grocery clerk and waiting tables.
   Eventually he took another position working as a proof reader and paralegal at a Newark law firm, but would venture into New York City to enter his artwork in various shows. 
   It was during one of these trips into the city that he met Andy Warhol. With only the intention of asking if he could take a picture with the famous artist, Warhol invited Burke to brunch and to drop by his studio.
   Driving past Brookdale’s campus one day, Burke liked what he saw and decided to apply to teach, but still stayed involved in visual arts. He is a member of the Art Alliance in Red Bank where he regularly exhibits his art work in shows there each month and in other shows around the county throughout the year. Working in oils, mixed media and oil pastels (his favorite medium,) Burke also enters his photography in many shows.
   “Some people in Monmouth County know me as an artist and have no idea I’m aprofessor,” Burke said.
   Burke was the adviser for Brookdale’s student art showplace, The Collage, for 20 years. He’s had poetry, essays and stories in various publications throughout the years. He’s an avid golfer and expert marksman. 
   When he’s not involved in artistic pursuits, Burke teaches Creative Writing and English 122, Writing and Research at Brookdale.
   “Teaching is one of the hardest things to do well. You always ask how can I bring more to make it a richer experience in the brief time I have with each student,” Burke said. “From formal education I think you get the realization that life continues to be more interesting if you continue to be educated about things that interest you.”
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