Hello friends! Welcome back to another edition of “The Haute Seat”. My next guest is a fabulous, innovative painter and designer from New York City. He has many years of experience in painting and independently producing large-scale solo art shows, multi-faceted clothing lines, and brand integrated murals across the globe. He has also adopted a unique form of interactive art by “painting live, in-person at events throughout the country to further engage the conversation between visual artists and their audience”. Referred to as “the 1988 love child of Keith Haring and Lisa Frank”, I am excited to introduce my guest Tyler Wallach!
Spencer: Hi Tyler, thank you so much for talking with me. I’ve been so excited for this interview. Happy New Year!
Tyler: Hello there Spencer!! Happy New Year!!!
Spencer: So you have a rather impressive bio under your belt. I’m curious to know where all of this creativity came from and how you came to be an artist ?
Tyler: Thank you so much, that’s so kind. Well, when I was younger, I was extremely animated, loud, talkative and colorful. I loved to pretend, and fell in love with over the top comedy stylings of Jim Carrey, Dana Carvey, Chris Farley, Robin Williams, and Mike Meyers. I pursued theater until I was living in NYC, doing theater and realized: I hated it. So I turned to art as an outlet for my frustration with the “actor lifestyle”. Then I had started to put up stickers with my art on them all over NYC and shortly thereafter I received some fun and interesting press, which led to “THE HISTORY OF QUEER STREET ART” reaching out to include me in their group show in Hollywood in 2011 – they flew my to LA for my first art show, and the rest is Queer History .
Spencer: I love the sticker idea, that is just so cool! Whether it be on a sticker, canvas, or even a jacket, your art has a very unique, eye-catching style. I know you mentioned before your connection to Keith Haring and Lisa Frank (which is so spot on), can you talk about what inspires you as an artist and specifically your style?
Tyler: As a child born in 1988, the major part of my youth was spent watching cartoons in the 1990’s and subsequently, the style of the 1990’s was very graphic in fashion, neon even in some cases. If you watch the intro to “SAVED BY THE BELL” that is the neon, graphic, 90s mood of my life. Also a brand called “GECKO HAWAII” google it!! That brand, which I wore as a young boy, is responsible for my early inspiration. The fashion and the show “AHH! REAL MONSTERS” as well as “ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE and RUGRATS” all shows that still relied on 1990’s animations standards, less 3D computer animation, more pen and pad animation. I’m also really inspired by the color of paintings by great master, Toulouse Lautrec.
Spencer: Ugh, okay I can relate to everything you just said so hard right now. I think I still have my Gecko Hawaii shirts at my dad’s house, and “Ahh! Real Monsters” was one of my favorite shows as a kid. But I totally see what you are saying when I look at your art. That inspiration is very potent.
One of your many talents include a unique form of interactive art which means painting live and in-person at events throughout the country. How did this concept come to be?
Tyler: In my early days of painting in NYC, I wanted as many people to experience my paintings as possible, and I knew I wouldn’t gain fans or friends by sitting alone in my apartment and painting in my bedroom. So I asked a local nightlife friend, David Sokolowski, if I could paint every Monday at Metropolitan Bar’s long running “HOT FRUIT” queer dance party and performance venue. So I painted there, live, every Monday for a stretch of 10-15 weeks. I met EVERYBODY who was doing drag, burlesque, spoken word, unspoken word, you name it, I saw it, and we all met. Little did I know all these people would come back to me at some point and be critical components of my life as a working artist.
Spencer: One piece to your work that I love so much, is that you have used your artistic platform to work with national LGBTQ charities in support of at risk queer youth and anti-bullying efforts. You have worked with charities such as the The Trevor Project, The Tyler Clementi Foundation, The Miami-Dade LGBTQ Business Association, and so many more. Why is this work so important to you?
Tyler: As a young queer who grew up in Texas, I understand the vitality of having life-saving services available when you feel like you just can’t take it anymore. I’ve been there before myself, and I wish I had a number to call that night.
Spencer: You have a new collection coming soon to the New York Fashion Week runway. Walk me through your concept and what the world should expect to see.
Tyler: I took the concept of my original fashion patterns that I’ve been producing, and mixed them with my classic “wet paint” dripping aesthetic. I took essential colors from the designs of some of my earlier work, and applied those colors to the dripping arms of the garments. Something that surprisingly enough, came to me by mistake, I selected the wrong print-file for the sleeve of my garment and came upon a very happy accident, and thus was born: FRESH WET PAINT by TYLER WALLACH STUDIO.
Spencer: I love it! This comes to show that artists and designers shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes, because sometimes that mistake can lead to new, exciting adventures. I am very excited to see your collection.
So we are at the beginning of the new year with a chance to make some changes and explore new ideas. What are your aspirations for you and your business in the new year?
Tyler: I just took 6 months off drinking, and it was one of the best decisions of my life!! It was an observation period if you will, and it has allowed me to make an assessment about my everyday life that will really help me in the long run. I speak for myself when it comes to the choice, but it was a very eye-opening and informative 6 months.
I was able to spend time with myself in those moments you find yourself thinking “Wow I really want a drink” – I was able to face myself in those moments and ask questions like “WHY do you want to drink right now? WHY do you feel like you NEED a drink right now” and to really delve into the driving forces of consumption. It’s an interesting look in the mirror, for those who are daring enough to take 6 months to look.
Spencer: That’s great! That moment of meditation is so important and I think we should all try and challenge ourselves to let go of the negativity every once and a while and let in those positive moments. That was one of my main goals this year. Tyler, any final words for the WERRRK.com viewers before we say goodbye?
Tyler: Please check out my Instagram for weekly updates!
Spencer: There you have it! Tyler, thank you so much for speaking with me. I am such a fan of your work and I am excited to see what is next!
Tyler: Thanks Spencer! Stay fabulous and WERRRK!
Follow Tyler Wallach through his multiple social media platforms!