In 2015, Tim Cantor began working closely with the Grammy Award winning band Imagine Dragons. Tim created the cover for their second album Smoke + Mirrors as well as 13 paintings to represent each song on the LP. His art made way into their concert stage designs and the music video SHOTS. As well, a large gallery of his paintings went on tour with the band, presented at over sixty shows throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Smoke + Mirrors reached number one in the world on the Billboard Top 200.
Like a painting, a song too can speak to us in infinite ways. In the fall of 2014, Grammy Award winning band Imagine Dragons entrusted Tim Cantor to interpret their music into visual works of art. Their debut album, Night Visions, was certified multi-platinum and proved to be one of the most successful records of all time. As the succeeding album, titled Smoke + Mirrors, became a reality, lead singer Dan Reynolds sought out distinct imagery that could befittingly symbolize the profound emotional realm invoked by Imagine Dragons' new music. Not too far away, Tim Cantor was awake every night, tediously channeling his own isolated thoughts into painstaking works of art. One Spring day, two visitors unexpectedly graced his gallery and found themselves intensely drawn to the collection of paintings that adorned the walls. They left the gallery enchanted by the art, haunted by the endearing stories behind the images, and bearing a book of Tim’s art to share with their son. Those visitors, as fate would have it, were the parents of Dan Reynolds. As Imagine Dragons returned home from their Night Visions world tour, that paginated folio of Tim’s work made its way into the fervent hands and eyes of Dan, who instantly connected with the emotional charge of the paintings contained within. Not only did Dan find Tim’s art beautiful and bemusing, but it had a ghostly emotive quality that mirrored the sentiments found within his own lyrics. The request, unexpectedly, came that Fall for Tim to create a painting for the cover of their highly anticipated sophomore album Smoke + Mirrors. At first, Tim was somewhat worried, for he always painted purely from his own imagination. However, his fears were quickly smothered by the absolute faith that they placed upon him. With full freedom, they wished for Tim to openly interpret their music. And so, in secret, Imagine Dragons played their new songs to Tim for the very first time. Tim Cantor’s paintings and unique character were not only connecting perfectly with Imagine Dragons' lyrically intense songs, these unorthodox artists truly enjoyed the coalition of each other. The situation was ideal for Tim. As he focused on his endeavor, his obsessive ways overtook, and the matter became not so much about the creation of a single painting for the cover, but trying to decide from the hundreds of sketches and concepts that poured forth from Tim's thoughts as the songs flooded his mind with visions.
In the Fall of 2014, Tim traveled to Imagine Dragons’ studio in Las Vegas to meet with the band and share what their new music had put forth from his imagination. Tim revealed the countless renderings he had created while inspired by their new songs. In the end, Tim Cantor painted not only the iconic cover art for Smoke + Mirrors, but thirteen additional paintings would ultimately represent each song on the album. Together, they effectively created a striking portfolio of music and art in this treasured collaboration. Smoke + Mirrors, upon its release, debuted at #1 in the world and proved to be a triumphant achievement. This unique artistic alliance provided a visual treatment that inspired further listeners to focus deeper, and see that each song held its own distinctive thoughtful intention.

MEETING MINDS

SONG GALLERY

Below are the paintings that represent each song on Imagine Dragons Smoke+Mirrors album. Tim Cantor and Imagine Dragons, in collaboration with DTSaudio, fashioned an entire museum exhibition displaying most of the artwork that Cantor created for the album. This display, as well as Tim Cantor himself, traveled with Imagine Dragons on the entire 2015 American and Canadian tour, as well as various shows in Europe and Asia. The layouts and descriptive text were part of that exhibition, and represent thoughts from an interview from Tim Cantor as he personally interprets his own thoughts of how he feels the paintings relate to the songs.
Not only did Tim Cantor’s museum become part of the Smoke + Mirrors experience at most concert venues, his imagery was also beautifully integrated into the production of Imagine Dragons’ performance. The concert tour staging was designed to have the sensation of Tim Cantor’s virtuosity. Most apparent was the extraordinary finale to each concert. For the encore, Imagine Dragons would reappear with their song THE FALL. Perhaps the most ideal synchronization of image and song, this performance brings rise to Tim Cantor’s etheral gold tree. From peaceful to feverish, roots rip from the soil and rise, untimately culminating in a sea of a million leaves falling from above, blanketing the stage and the audience below.

SECRETS IN THE COVER

So many secrets hide within the album cover. Below is a diagram that hints to just a few of the many shaded mysteries buried inside this everlasting painting...
Unique exhibitions traveled the world displaying works in galleries and concerts, such as this exhibition as the House of Vans in the underground tunnels of London that preceded the album release.

SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS

In June 2015, Imagine Dragons and Tim Cantor joined forces with DTSaudio to fashion an elaborate museum retrospective to present the artwork that was created for the album. As part of the Smoke + Mirrors experience, the traveling art exhibition accompanied Imagine Dragons on their entire 2015 American and Canadian tour as well as various shows in Europe and Asia. At each performance, Tim Cantor was in attendence to meet with fans and share the story of their remarkable collaboration.

TOUR EXHIBITIONS

IMAGINE DRAGONS - SHOTS directed by Robert Hales An extraordinary collaboration of music and art - bringing timeless visuals to the brilliant sounds of Billboard's #1 album, Smoke & Mirrors. SHOTS is a strikingly upbeat song with deep, conflicting lyrics set in a virtual museum of Tim Cantor’s art.

SHOTS