Kyler, what got you interested in illustration and art?
I spent a lot of time at the library as a little kid, and my favorite thing to do was look through all the picture books. It definitely defined the type of art and illustration I like looking at.
Where did you learn your craft? In a school, self-taught, by a family member or friend?
I went to school for Ceramics at Boise State, and didn’t do much 2-D art there, so I guess you could say I’m self taught when it comes to illustration and painting.
Can you describe your creative process? Where do your ideas for new pieces come from?
My creative process usually starts with drawing dozens of sketches, sometimes with no idea in mind, then if something pops out as a good idea, I’ll expand on it. I usually pick up and leave a drawing a couple times before I full flesh it out.
All of your work is clearly inspired by old-school tattoo techniques and styling. Are there any artists in particular that inspire you?
My first exposure to the tattoo art that I’m into was the obvious ones like Sailor Jerry and Ed Hardy. Reading about them got me really interested in the history of tattooing, and as I got deeper into the subject, I realized what I really liked was the outsider/folky aspect of tattooing of the early 20th century that inspired those guys.
Lately I’ve been seeking out more of this folk painting/craft stuff, which can be hard since it’s basically anonymous craftspeople from 100+ years ago.
The ever-present “creative block” plagues many artists. Do you have any techniques or rituals you utilize to shake off the rust?
I draw all the time basically, even if I don’t have an idea. Also, doing research on artists like I mentioned above, helps me to think about the ideas behind the stuff that inspires me, and makes it easier for me to take them in my own direction.
Name five things that are currently in arm’s reach on your desk or workspace.
- Brass diving helmet my brother in the Navy gave me (probably my favorite thing I own.)
- My cat.
- Too many empty coffee cups.
- Giant stack of reference books.
- Dozens of pens, most of them dried out.
Do you have any new skills, techniques, or mediums that you have yet to try out and want to utilize for an upcoming piece? If so, how do you plan to incorporate them into your workflow?
I have been more and more interested in sign painting, and have been trying to figure out how to better incorporate the lettering work i’ve been doing into my personal work. I am hoping to do a lot more mixing of sign paint, water colors and my regular drawing style in the coming months.