Tim Zarley

President, Zarley Law Firm PLC

Des Moines attorney Tim Zarley got a unique birthday gift from his wife, Ruth Ann, two years ago: an opportunity to publicly display his artwork for the first time. 

She had her husband put on a blindfold and drove him to the Polk County Heritage Gallery downtown, which she had booked for a month to exhibit his work. 

“She handed me a card that said, ‘This artwork is too good for others not to see,’ ” Zarley recalled. “At the time, I had maybe five pieces I was comfortable showing.” From early December 2011 to the exhibit’s opening in March 2012, he completed more than two dozen additional drawings. He titled the show “Anonymous,” because he never signed any of his work. Last fall, he displayed several of his works at the law library at his alma mater, Drake University Law School. 

Zarley, whose favorite medium is graphite, also paints and finds art to be a great outlet for relaxation. He likes to use found materials, such as fences, to create his pieces. He has had no formal training in art, other than taking a few classes at the Des Moines Art Center and at an art store. 

He hadn’t displayed his work at either his home or office until doing the Heritage Gallery exhibit. A next step may be to consider selling some pieces, Zarley said. 

“The show at Heritage Gallery was encouraging, and made me want to take it a little more seriously and put a little more thought into it,” he said.