On Friday the 9th, Amber (@caseorganic) and I attended Art Comp Live 2008 at Backspace.
Joining us were our friends Sarah O’Brien (@moneteva) and Derrek Wayne (@derrekwayne.)
The event was impressive, to say the least, and Sarah wrote a recap more extensive than what I could hope to capture.
But somewhere along the night, an artist caught our attention.
(Note: All images of the artist are
uploaded by Chris Faulkner.)
To my regret, he did not finish his work on time nor win the money prize. But the three-hour that he spent working on the toy showed that he was more than a craftsman.
So we bid him to send pictures of the finished product—
—and then to answer several questions so you, gentle readers, get to know more about him.
Here we go.
I am originally from NH but I claim Hendersonville, North Carolina as my hometown because I went to high school there and basically my oldest friends only go back that far. I am the eleventh child in a family of fifteen children (9 boys, 6 girls). I had an amazing childhood and although we were dirt poor I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I moved to Portland in 2003 to finish my degree at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and when I graduated my wife Emily and I just could not leave. We have a great group of friends here and the opportunity to make art was very compelling in our decision not to leave.
Q: How did you came into woodworking?
A: Actually, I started making wooden toys quite recently. My wife and I had a baby in April and I am already really excited about making things for him. I have done quite a bit of casting of plastic figures in the past, but I really wanted to get away from this for several reasons including cost, safety and environmental impact. I wanted to make something that I wouldn’t mind my kid sucking on. I started messing around with some wood shapes, drew up some sketches and created some characters I liked but I never actually made a wooden toy until the night I participated in ArtComp. Since then I have made several more and I am becoming comfortable with the process.
Q: When you look at a piece of wood, or a dowel, or anything, do you think about what you can build with it?
A: These things are coming to life in two ways. The first is a very organic process. I have shapes of wood and as I hold and study them something pops into my head. I begin to combine shapes and eventually I have a toy. I sketch out my idea and then I make it. The sketches are not fool-proof. Often things don’t go together like I imagine they will, or they look weird so I improvise a solution.
The second is exactly the opposite of this. I draw a character I like and then find the pieces to make it happen.
Q: Could you send a list of tools you use? How many different sizes of drill bits? How do you get the pieces to fit together?
A: The tools are developing just like the process, bit by bit. I have a couple tools that are staples of the work. A miter saw, a drill press, a scroll saw, a drill, a dremel, and a nice big vise. Everything else I generally get as I discover I need it. I live close to a Fred Meyer so I often just ride over to their tool section if I need something.
(Below are questions blatantly ripped off Portland On Fire’s)
Q: What are you up to?
A: I work as an interactive designer for Downstream in Portland although I am definitely a little more dreamy and not quite as anal as most great designers are. Personally, I just make stuff. I have a very short attention span so I am working on like fifteen projects at once, which has its ups and downs.
Currently I am working on three big projects including a series of large-scale photos about a fictional character named Sir Bishop Jenkins (who is stranded on an island with a group of men all of whom are all living beyond death hoping to leave the island). I also just finished writing a children’s book about a wrestler named the Incredible Skull and I am working on the illustrations right now. And finally, I am making wooden toys.
Q: What are your passions?
A: Art has always been my biggest passion. I have been drawing and making things for as long as I can remember. I like to play sports. I play soccer, basketball, dodgeball, softball and I also run a lot as well as some snowboarding during the winter. I have a lot of energy to expend. I am passionate about my friends as well. They are a very important part of my life and, since I live so far from my family, they are very much my second family.
This may sound stupid, but I am really into the Gabriel García Márquez book, One Hundred Years of Solitude. I read it at least once a year, sometimes more. I probably have read it between 10-12 times. It is one of my greatest pleasures.
Other than that, I am really into my work. It is always nice to meet people or have people tell me that they like my artwork, or want to buy something I have made but I would still be doing it even if no one cared. I guess that’s passion to me, doing something even if its only reward is what you find in it.
Q: Share your thoughts and feelings about Portland.
A: I love Portland. It is just a great city to live in. I like the size of Portland a lot. I like the fact that I recognize people I don’t even know because they go to the same places, events, and seem to move in the same circle that I do. I like riding my bike, so you can’t really do better than Portland for that. I also feel that politically Portland is well aligned with my personal beliefs, generally open and accepting of people. Plus, the food here is great and I like rain.
Q: How can we connect with you?
A: I have an online portfolio site, ghost-toast.com, which I am currently rebuilding. It has taken me several months to get it going and I still haven’t finished all of the pages. Being on the computer for my job, I am not very motivated to spend time on it when I am home. This means my site never has my latest work up, which is something I really want to be better about.
I don’t spend much time on the internet. I wouldn’t say I am disconnected, but that’s just not how I spend my free time. To me the computer is a tool just like any other. I use it when I need to for finding reference images or whatever, but when that task is done I am off. There is just so much for me to do that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a monitor.
Tyler’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org