We got together with Tyler Crawford, Arizona-based Ally Artist since 2012 and winner of the Machine Gun Kelly contest. His unique way of mixing typography and illustration captivates the imagination and brings in a new perspective on art and design.
When do you first remember getting into illustration?
My passion for illustration started in elementary school where I leaned to draw. I wasn’t great at other subjects in school so I really gravitated towards art. It gave me an outlet for my creativity which grew with time. In high school I had an amazing teacher, Mrs. Gregson, who pushed me to make the best work I could all the time and to try different mediums to explore what I could do. When I went to college to pursue my degree in Graphic Design and Illustration, I also took courses to learn to work with metal, wood, wire and clay. I dabble in a lot of different mediums but graphic design is where my heart is. I earned my Bachelor’s degree and graduated with honors from the Art Institute of Tucson and am currently working as a web designer in Tucson, Arizona.
How do you start your process for working on a piece?
My process usually involves an initial idea, that I then find some references for and make a quick mock up of the idea so I can see it somewhat fleshed out before I go in on it, and lots of coffee.
Any suggestions for other up and coming designers?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Art is subjective and you can’t always please your client the first time around. Learn to take criticism in stride and use it to better your work.
What has been your favorite contest you’ve worked on?
I don’t know if I have a favorite contest, it’s more of enjoying the process and seeing an idea come to life for me.
What kind of contests would you be really excited to see?
Branding, poster designs, and anything illustration based.
I noticed you have amazing skills when it comes to including text in your artwork. What is your inspiration behind mixing illustration with words?
This is a funny story, I had a typography teacher who was really tough. He took our photo and told us we had to make a self-portrait out of nothing but type. That day I was wearing a Fallen Hat with a pattern of skull and crossbones all over it and he said, “Good luck with that.” So to spite him, I make my entire piece out of nothing but type including every skull and crossbones on my hat. It took me over 24 hours to complete and in the portrait, I included a message to my teacher in my shirt. It said, “I am an artist, don’t ever doubt me.” In the end it was worth the effort.
I see you’re also from Arizona. Does your surrounding environment ever inspire your artwork?
I have done a few things that have drawn inspiration from my state, but as a whole not so much. It’s beautiful here, but also 90 degrees in March.
Last one: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
If I could have a superpower, it would have to be to make more hours in the day, or stop time so I could get more work done. As a new father, I have had to sacrifice my free time that I would normally be making art, to be a Dad. It’s the best job in the world, but also the toughest.