Instagram: @lizardsalt, @tygie.wygie

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but have lived in Colorado for all of the important years of my life. Colorado holds everyone I love, and will forever be my home. I am a very fortunate human being, I have two great parents, and two great brothers who I love very much, their support has given me the confidence to pursue anything, and I am very grateful that I’ve been given this life, full of opportunity.

I have always been a lanky, tall, young man, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a lover of all things that life has to offer, I am very curious, I love sports and being active, I am getting more into cooking lately, I love to read, I am very much into comic books, and I love video games, as well as spend time with people. Like many people my age, I am a child of the internet, I might have never even pursued art if it hadn’t been for all of the incredible people I’ve seen online.

I decided to really pursue drawing a little over a year ago, and every day since then, I have seen insane improvement. Honestly, up until drawing, I had never really pursued anything so fully in my life. Up until then, I had basically been skating through life, always too afraid to pursue anything. I am a very anxious person, so it was really hard for me to commit to anything for a long time, I just went with whatever presented itself to me at the moment, and never gave my personal interests a voice.

The thought process I had for a long time was, “If I pursue this one thing, and it doesn’t pan out, what if I realize down the road that I should have been pursuing this other thing?” Basically, all pathways led to regret. Therefore my future for a long time was suspended in this limbo due to my indecisiveness, and this hit me really hard in college. I jumped into college right after high school having absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I had really given it no thought in high school. In high school, I was always preoccupied with stupid high school things and had just pushed this decision down the line to a wiser, future Tyger.

This all caught up to me in my sophomore year of college, I still didn’t have a plan, and I felt like my time was running out. I spent that whole year worrying, it took over my life. I was anxious all the time, and it was the first time in my life where I’ve experienced depression. I blamed myself so much for the state I was in at the time, and I really did not like the person who I was in the past. My mind, like many other people, was in this wild flux of worry and regret. I felt alone, and I was always so scared of life.

While I am writing this, I am the happiest I have ever been, and I look back on this depression as a very crucial turning point in my life. If not for this extreme sadness, I don’t think I would have fought back as hard as I did. I came out of this depression, the most motivated I have ever been in my life. I started to read again, I kept a journal that I wrote in every day, I worked out again, I got on top of my classes again, I got my diet right, and I took some risks for the first time in my life.

Most importantly, I feel comfortable in my own skin again, I don’t blame myself as strictly as I used to, and I am working on having a voice, and not just being a people pleaser. I am in a serious relationship for the first time in my life, and she makes me very happy. I have developed into a very optimistic person, and I never want to stop improving.

I am attending the University of Colorado Boulder, in my last semester as a student EVER, and I am so excited to see where life takes me after school. My art has presented me with some opportunities, and the school has given me something to fall back on. I am extremely grateful for any and all support that has come my way from the people in my life, and the many people I have met online. Thanks to all of them, I have the confidence to continue to do what I am doing.

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2. Tell us about your aesthetic

I like bright colors, and I dress kind of like a dad, I get all of my clothes from the thrift store, if I had to put a pin on it, I would say vintage psychedelic. My aesthetic isn’t something that I’ve tried to hone, different aesthetics inspire me at different times. A lot of my art is a snapshot of me trying to hone a specific style or a combination of styles that I like.

3. What is your favourite medium, and why?

Even though I love creating digitally, my bread and butter will always be pen and paper. Doodling is my foundation in art, and doodling with a nice bold pen is a heavenly feeling. I like the permanence of pen, I feel dangerous, it stops me from overthinking what I’m drawing. When you think too much about something, it can lose its personality, when you doodle, it’s just all intuition. A lot of the time, I never know what I am going to draw until I’m drawing it. Not having any sort of plan to what you’re drawing forces the body to just take over, and allows you to really draw what you’re feeling in that moment. I will never get tired of that feeling. I also like lines a lot, I like drawing characters and shapes, especially ones with smooth edges. There is nothing more ecstatic than drawing a really nice line.

4. What is your artistic process like?

It really depends, like I said above, I rarely go into a drawing with a plan of action. I like to call audibles while I’m drawing. It is a very rare thing for me to have a fully developed idea ready to go. I like to start somewhere, usually at the focal point of the piece, and build around it. If I’m doing something for a client, I’ll try and make it how they want it, and in that case, I’ll try to conceptualize the drawing in my head beforehand.

I’m not a perfectionist, I just try to draw what feels right in the present moment. I like the Bob Ross ideology of “happy accidents,” these happy accidents can sometimes lead to new discoveries. In art, there is no such thing as messing up, unless your goal is to create a photorealistic drawing of something. When your creation comes from your heart (sorry for the corniness), there is nothing that can go wrong.

5. Who and/or What inspires you?

Obviously, I have a ton of artists who have inspired me to create what I’ve created, but also there are people in every single trade who inspire me. When I see my parents working hard to support me and my brothers, I feel inspired to work towards doing the same some day for my children. When I see my friends working hard every single day to pursue their goals, I feel inspired to do the same. When I see athletes on tv with the odds stacked against them, will their way to victory, I feel inspired.

Persistency can be infectious if looked through from the right lenses. I watch this anime called Naruto, and the main protagonist is so likable due to his resilience and persistency, he picks himself up over and over again, even when he is no match for his opponent, and he will do absolutely anything for his friends.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art, to me, especially when done well, is where I find the most beauty in human beings, and also myself. When I am in the process of making art, I realize that I am not just a bundle of nerves controlling a meat sack, I am a creator, a being capable of transforming his environment around him into beautiful physical things. Human beings are capable of creating snapshots in time of the beauty that this world has to offer before we know it this world will be gone, but at least we are able to create evidence that it once existed, and it made us feel something.

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7. Where did you study?

I have never studied art apart for some drawing classes in high school, and one drawing for a non-major course in college.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Financially independent, better than I was before, working for myself, and continuing to meet new people and forge new connections

9. What about in ten?

Perhaps I’ve written a book by now, maybe a graphic novel? I would like to know by this time that I have made the world a better place with my art. Perhaps at this time I’ll be able to turn myself into a cyborg, maybe Walt Disney will be unfrozen as well. Hopefully, global warming hasn’t done it’s thing yet.

Oh yeah, and kids maybe?

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

I just want to be happy creating things, and I want to be valuable to people and help them realize their visions. If I could help this planet in any way, that would be nice.

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11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favorite food.

An impossible question, there is so many good things to eat. Some days Mac and cheese really hits the spot. Some days I need something a little more filling like a smothered burrito in green chili. Indian food is incredible, they make bomb rice, and their sauces are to die for, also Naan is incredible. I love me just a big ol’ baguette to chomp down on, fresh bread is literally perfect. There are some great cereals out there as well that are the perfect things to eat at 2 am, honey bunched of oats is pretty amazing, and I am very into plain cereals such as Rice Krispies and cheerios. Nuts are pretty great, I used to eat plain almonds all the time at my Grandma’s, so eating them always reminds me of her.

I haven’t even begun to talk about how great fruits and veggies are. Have you ever bitten into the perfect strawberry before? Don’t even get me started on smoothies either. Spinach is a must, Lima beans are incredible, kale is great, mushrooms are great, there aren’t many vegetables I don’t love, there aren’t many foods in general that I don’t like on some level.

I also remembered goat cheese on my way back from school as well.

12. Favourite book?

Also impossible, so many great books out there. Maybe Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, I just read it at a good time in my life, and it brings me back to that. Also, it’s a phenomenal and very dense book. I just read the Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, that was a pretty incredible book as well. Watchmen by Alan Moore is up there for me, I also love the Bone Series by Jeff Smith.

13. Favourite genre of music?

This one is hard as well, there are so many great genres for their own reasons, I have my personal favorites in just about every genre. Anything that is different, experimental, or just sounds good. If it’s a jam, I like it. Is the Muppet Movie soundtrack a genre? I love Jazz, love alternative/ progressive/ psychedelic/ pop-rock, I really like electronic music, you can find good music in any genre.

14. What are your hobbies?

Art is honestly my biggest hobby, even though it has become a source of revenue. I also love flipping thrift store hauls with my girlfriend as well. I run a lot. Reading is a pretty big hobby of mine. I consider making collages a hobby because usually I don’t them too seriously. I enjoy working out, and I have a sweet spot in my heart for the game of basketball. I love all games though, playing sports is fun. I play video games, mostly computer games nowadays, I’ve always been in to point and click adventures. I play a little bit of guitar, but I haven’t been as consistent as I used to be.

15. If you weren’t an artist, who would you be?

I don’t really consider myself an artist, it still is just something I do in my free time while I’m attending school. There is a lot more to me than just making art, it’s just something that I do. If I wasn’t drawing though, I would imagine that I would be doing something else where I can milk my creative juices, otherwise, I would just get bored. I would still be me though, nothing would really change. Perhaps I would use my Economics degree more fully if I wasn’t drawing, I probably wouldn’t be as happy though. I like working for myself, that would always be something that I would strive for.

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