I’ve known Tyler Jones for a while now. We met back in high school. Tyler has always been a very interesting man, a jack of all trades. He was a skater, he drew and was apart of a wildly hilarious crew of guys. I should have noticed then he was going to create such captivating art. He was building half-pipes back in high school! Oh, and did I mention he can spit the most creative and astute freestyle I’ve ever been a witness to. Granted, that’s not saying much, but really his rap game is impressive. I always knew Tyler to be wicked smart and talented, and I’ve had the pleasure of watching him flourish creatively and prosper as an artist over the past few years. Take a few minutes to read about his story and what he has been working on lately.
Who are you and what do you do? I am Tyler Jones. I am an artist concentrating primarily in sculpture and printmaking.
Tell me about your journey as an artist. My experiences in art began when I was really young as I feel like it does for a lot of people. My mom always kept me stocked up with plenty of crayons and watercolors to play with. Down the street, my friend had a big tub of legos, some pastels, and his pops would make us clay. I loved making stuff when I was a kid and I just never stopped. When I started skating I graduated from legos to learning how to construct things with power tools and wood and I realized that I liked this process almost as much as I enjoyed skating the things that I built. I loved learning about different tools and techniques to build things but I never really considered this to be art in any way. It was always separate from drawing and painting and things like that. It wasn’t until a lot of years later that I realized that it didn’t have to be. I found sculpture as this perfect marriage between the finesse involved with making an art piece and the physicality, technique, and craftsmanship involved with construction. Printmaking caught my eye as it is, in my opinion, sort of a sculptural approach to two dimensional image-making. So that’s kind of where I’m at. I’m still just learning new ways to make things.
What inspires you? I’m inspired by a lot of things really. I’m inspired by artists that I look up to whether they are close friends of mine or heavy hitters in contemporary art, both historical figures in art like Duchamp obviously, and more current working artists. Abraham Cruzvillegas, Robert Gober, Evan Holloway and Charles Ray are a few I’ve been looking at recently. I’m inspired by professors and people that I look up to in academia. Mike Calway-Fagen, Courtney McClellan, George Belcher and Phillip Scarpone have had a huge impact on me and my practice. I’m inspired by experiences, of my own and of others. I am inspired by material, the life it lives, and the relationship it has to those human experiences. What sort of poetry can be established by using the inherent quality of a material to create a dialogue between its physical presence and its relationship to the human experience in a more metaphorical kind of way.
What are you working on currently? I am currently most actively working on establishing my own studio practice outside of academia. After graduating I have very little access to the facilities that I built my practice around so I am kind of in a state of flux. I invested in a small printing press and some fundamental tools and materials though so I am currently working on a ten-layer reductive linocut print that will be the 7th print in a series that I started in 2015.
What are your long-term goals as an artist? I’m uncertain of my long-term goals as an artist. I’m still trying to figure that out. I just want to grind and see what becomes of it, walk through doors as they open. I do know that I am interested in starting a streetwear brand pretty soon that will offer handmade clothing and accessories. I’ve had this idea floating around for years, but its starting to look like a good time to jump on it now that I’m out of school and have time for that sort of thing.
I’ve noticed you’ve been experimenting with a lot of different mediums. (Installations, printmaking, sculpting, metal casting, drawing). Which is your favorite? Or what do you like about these different mediums? Ya, I try to stay pretty agile in terms of the processes by which I create things. Shifting about sort of forces you to keep a fluid perspective. Its important to me not to assign a hierarchy, so I try not to consider favorites rather than just the best means of executing an idea or portraying a feeling that I want to convey. I just do what I think will work the best or what I am feeling in that moment.
How do you promote your work? In terms of social media, I use Instagram to promote my art. @tuberculosisjones