Tyler Guinn is an artist living and working in Austin, Texas with his wife and two sons. His work in conceptual abstract expressionism is collected internationally, featured in notable design projects, represented by various galleries and we are thrilled to carry his work in our Shoppes. Representing both gestural movement and symbolism, his work is loved by many and continues to find it’s home in spaces across the country. This work places a gentle emphasis on organic sensibility and spiritual grounding allowing the viewer to bring their own interpretation as well. Tyler’s practice continues to grow in influence, blessing spaces with beauty. Our conversation about this journey was one to remember and we are thrilled to share it with you.
Without further ado, Tyler Guinn
Tell us about your journey. How did you become an artist/painter?
Art has always found me.
Although I don’t have formal training, I’ve always positioned myself to witness and participate in many forms of the creative process. In childhood, my mother modeled “the artist” as more than just an occupation but a means to bless others. I recall many late nights with cluttered supply tables in our home, where Mom was busy bringing joy to others through her craft. Through adolescence and early on in my career, creativity became a defining trait for me. My skills in ideation and visual communication were enlisted for commercial purposes. Along the way, my business acumen was developed. Years of valuable experience in advertising and marketing laid the groundwork for my own entrepreneurial endeavors.
In February 2017, a series of challenging events in my personal life led me back to painting as a form of therapy. The goal at the time was not to make a career in fine art. I thought that maybe, in my own healing process, others would find hope as well. Very quickly I learned that my story is my platform, not my undoing. In the midst of multiple struggles I was able to share unwavering faith on canvas.
My first “studio” was in fact a tarp in the backyard of my home. As public interest grew and my business gained traction, I moved into a garage and then eventually an air conditioned shed. It was never glamorous, always lean and functional. At the very end of 2018, when my first son was born, I decided to take a leap of faith and become a full time artist. Fast forward to the year 2023; I am so blessed to have a dedicated space, a studio manager, the support of my family and an ever-growing list of clients and representation.
I always tell people that fine art is the Wild West – there are no formulas, best practices or roadmaps to follow. A combination of talent, hard work and favor is the only recipe I can endorse for sustaining the craft. The most powerful asset we possess is the ability to share our own experience in a relatable way.
What inspires you daily?
Purpose and beauty.
Being an artist has granted me the opportunity to connect and empathize with a multitude of people. It allows me to work with my hands and translate different forms of beauty. I’m part of a bigger story being told. I pray that my actions and the objects I leave behind point back to the calling on my life.
What makes your work stand out to you?
Aesthetically, I think there is a balance in toughness and elegance that elicits a response. Primitive materials and weathered surfaces are found in dialogue with classical concepts and cross-medium design principles. I paint with the consideration of existing context, and the potential for new ones. I’m also thinking about the co-authored experience of a piece – my intention met with the viewer’s interpretation. When you combine these elements the artwork becomes just as much about how it makes you feel as the way it looks. That “feeling” in the composition is where I have found favor.
What does your process look like when creating new pieces/ a day-in-the-life-like for you?
I’ve honestly never been able to maintain a daily routine or rhythm. The only moments of consistency are those spent with my family – making breakfast for the kids, a glass of wine in the evening with my wife, coaching soccer and attending church on the weekends. This focus keeps me grounded and accountable. But when it comes to work, I crave autonomy and a dynamic schedule in order to stay engaged. My view is that the title of “artist” characterizes a way of being, not just the act of making. I’ve never bought into the “show up and paint everyday no matter what” school of thought. I give myself the freedom to work a 14-hour production session when I’m inspired, or ignore the studio altogether when I sense fatigue. In order to pour out, we must be filled up – and that plays out differently in each season. My collectors get the most out of me when the tension to paint outweighs the need to rest.
Abstractions are born out of this tension. At first there are only raw materials on hand and ideas living in my head/ heart. The burden is to translate and synthesize these ideas to form. In production, intention meets effort. The ethereal is joined with the tangible. An object is born. Upon completion the piece can be shared in an interpersonal way. The gift didn’t stop with me – the idea has moved through me and found a place to call home. Perhaps the piece now evokes personal meaning that words could not previously express. Ideally, it grounds and heals. And this gives me the strength to wake up each morning and address new ideas; to revisit the raw materials.
The best piece of advice someone has given you as an artist and why?
The most valuable advice I’ve been given is, ironically, to ignore the advice of other artists. To thine own self be true. Every journey is unique and should be the primary driver of creative expression. Realistically there’s no singular formula to “success” in this field. This independent mindset is liberating when you consider today’s digital/social landscape. It is nearly impossible to unplug and operate in a vacuum. As artisan’s we are faced with the temptation of comparison and the pressure to perform. My best artwork is born out of free expression, true to my own convictions.
Favorite place to visit to spark inspiration?
Santa Fe, Carmel, Napa & Sonoma and the Texas Hill Country
Favorite painter to date?
Gosh, there’s no way I could give one name. Robert Ryman, Martha Jungwirth, Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko, Yun Hyong-keun, Rita Ackermann, Mark Bradford, Ha Chong-Hyun, Philip Guston.
One product that is always in your bag?
A hat or beanie.
Favorite space in your home?
Back porch (when Texas weather cooperates)
Was there a specific memory you have about the process of making the piece Waymaker, that we carry at Shoppe?
Like many other pieces I produce in this aesthetic structure, there are streams of movement composed of kinetically determined lines, instinctive symbols and hasty inscriptions. Moments of realism and legibility in this style are absorbed by erasure using opaque layers. I remember completing Waymaker in a single studio session, while listening to music.