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An Interview With Tyler Jackson Of Ghost Toast

On Friday the 9th, Amber (@caseorganic) and I attended Art Comp Live 2008 at Backspace.

Art Comp Live 2008 at Backspace

Joining us were our friends Sarah O’Brien (@moneteva) and Derrek Wayne (@derrekwayne.)

Derrek Wayne, Amber Case and Sarah O'Brien, Pedicabbed On Waterfront

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—

Front View Of Wooden Toy Made By Ghost Toast's Tyler Jackson

Side View Of Wooden Toy Made By Ghost Toast's Tyler Jackson

Back View Of Wooden Toy Made By Ghost Toast's Tyler Jackson

—and then to answer several questions so you, gentle readers, get to know more about him.

Here we go.

About Me:
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 tyler@ghosttoastdesign.com

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3 thoughts on “An Interview With Tyler Jackson Of Ghost Toast

  1. Mike & Karen Norman says:

    It is fun to read about Tyler’s passions and accomplishments. He is truly someone who follows his dreams and it is working.

    Mike & Kare

  2. Pingback: An Interview With Tyler Jackson Of Ghost Toast | Wooden Toy Magazine

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