A contemporary artist based in Austin, Texas, Tyler Guinn creates right in his own backyard. Vibrant and texturized acrylic on canvas, he describes his work as "thoughtful, but appears effortless in it's final form." We wanted to ask him more about how he made the journey from business school to the artist that he is today, and what his thought process is going into each piece.
Where are you from originally and what brought you to Austin?
I grew up in New Braunfels, just down the road. In late 2014, I had the opportunity to pursue an entrepreneurial dream and co-found a men’s lifestyle shop. That venture brought my wife and I back to Austin, a place we have always considered home.
When and why did you start making art?
I have always been encouraged and challenged to cultivate my creativity. My mom is a career artist, and most of my memories growing up involved some kind of art project happening in our home. With this positive influence, and having a dad that always pushed me to chase my dreams, I can’t remember not “making art”.
Throughout my teenage years, college, and into my early career, I continued to explore different forms of art that included drawing and sketching, graphic design, and writing. As an Art Director in the advertising industry, I learned ways to evoke emotion and influence purchase behavior through strategic creativity. Then when I became a small business owner, I realized my passion for brand storytelling and development. For the past year, I have been consulting for several other brands in this capacity as well.
But it was in this season of my life that I started to feel distant from more traditional art forms. As an artist, I’ve always understood the importance of drawing or writing daily, and I was simply not doing so. Meeting performance goals, and long hours behind a keyboard began to overshadow any sense of creative accomplishment or growth. About 5 months ago, that changed when I started painting again. I don’t have formal training, I went to business school, but from the moment I re-introduced myself to the craft it has felt second nature. I feel more alive and maximized when telling a story through acrylics than any other medium. I think the paintings are just as therapeutic for me as they are enjoyable for others.
What are some of your current day inspirations and how do they help you create?
Most of my work is inspired by a text, scripture or song. I enjoy visualizing written word as an abstract expression. I listen to music anytime I work, and appreciate a wide range of genres (you can sometimes tell what album I was listening to based on the piece). As someone who has vested interest in fashion, I must say that menswear and color trends have also played a part in my current palette. It seems like I can't get enough of blush lately. And to an extent, interior design may also be subtly influencing my work. I like to imagine where a painting will end up.
I think stylistically you can see the influences of Jackson Pollock, Cy Twombly, Franz Kline and Joan Mitchell, and more recently the works of John Perello. What all of these legends do so well is create work that evokes an emotional response - the composition is alive. I want to do the same thing, tell a story through colors. The work will continue to evolve and mature as I continue to learn and make mistakes, and I find that pretty exciting.
What would you say to someone wanting to start making their own art but is fearful to begin?
When you look back on your life at an old age, you will probably be more disappointed about the things you didn’t try, then the things you failed at. Fail hard. Art is completely subjective, and if you do it for yourself and for the sake of expression you can’t really “fail” at all.
Any upcoming projects you’re working on that we can keep an eye out for?
This is still such a new venture that I’m still learning what to even make of it. All of my current pieces have sold via Instagram and Facebook, and my "studio" is a shed behind my house. I’m completely humbled and grateful for this opportunity at HELM. But hey, dream big right? I would really love to be in a gallery in 2018, so if you know somebody….