Digital artist Tyler Spangler describes his work as ‘grape flavoured popsicles dipped in the ocean and placed on a rock to melt’. A psych grad and art school dropout, he now has over 150,000 followers on Instagram, he’s had 5 design books published, and he’s created works for the likes of Outkast, Nike, Chanel and Hermès.
Tyler’s viral pop art has been described by Forbes as a ‘psychedelic stream of consciousness.’ Tyler says, ‘if it weren’t for Tumblr and Instagram I wouldn’t have any recognition at all.’
Where did your love of art and design come from?
It started with video games, cartoons, album covers, and surf culture. Once I got older I started getting more into design history.
You’re an art school drop out and a psychology graduate. Do you think this shows through in the themes of your work?
Both paths are something I am still interested in so I think I will always incorporate them into my work. I feel my work has a lot of personal emotion to it and it’s interesting to translate feelings into artwork.
You’ve got a pretty insane client list. Do a lot of those opportunities come through Instagram?
In the beginning I would send my work to thousands of companies with very little success. After getting small freelance jobs here and there I started to learn what works and what doesn’t. Over time I refined my work and maintained a proficient online presence and almost all of my current clients are from seeing my work online somewhere.
What do you think are the main factors for your success?
Being honest with my work, consistently pumping out new work, being a very easy going client, and motivation to keep making money doing what I love.
Where do you find inspiration?
Surfing, music, family, and everyday situations. Some of my most successful pieces have been internal reactions I’ve had during a random conversation during the day.
Do you have any go-to books for art, design or any kind of creative inspiration?
I think the wackiest book I’ve ever read was Napalm and Silly Puddy by George Carlin. It’s a comedy book with a bunch of one liners, anecdotes and sketches that are pretty bizarre.
Best exhibition you’ve ever seen?
I like the Natural History Museum.
What advice would you give yourself if you started all over again?
I think I would do the same thing: post new work everyday, email potential clients every couple weeks, don’t get discouraged if things aren’t working – just adapt.