We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyler Floren and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyler, what do you attribute your success to?
It seems to me that behind most success is great opportunity or great passion. Personally my success comes from great passion. Creatives are compelled towards their work. As an artist I find it easy to love what I do but making art is not a swift road to success, truthfully it’s barely a road. Success in the arts is a slippery thing to pin down and can be identified by very different measures. A work of art has to contend with the scrutiny of the artists peers, social community ,market, academia and so on. It’s a lot of interests to please and it is rare to impress everyone at once. So when I look at my career so far it doesn’t look like great success and in fact it’s littered with many failures. I take these collected failures up like armor and follow my passion. I truly am compelled to make the work and I feel that this comes through in the art. There is more to the picture than just passion. In my experience, passion needs some guide rails. Namely, purpose and dedication. For me these have been the central factors of my success. First, a passion to love what I do, a purpose to guide it, and the dedication to persist.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art work has been a vehicle to explore my own understanding of the world and to make images of my own delight and catharsis. I am often working with images that reference subjects of religion, science, material, and labor. There is a strong historical tie between the vocations of art, science, and religion. There has been little room for them all to agree on everything but I am fascinated by the connection point between them. The intersectional subject is both a point of harmony where topics may find agreement but can also be a point of contention and is perhaps a line in the sand. My purpose in focusing on subjects like these is to create a discourse with the audience that asks them address the question. I want to invite broadly varied opinions to the same space to ask a difficult question together. I don’t have any expectations of changing anybodies mind but I do believe it is important to make work that has potential to make a safe space of conversation for the audience.
Success is goal on a mobile post and you can place it anywhere. For me it has been important to be mindful of the scale I use to measure my success or if I’m using that to measure my self worth. In my path to becoming the artist I am today it has been important to set some long distance goals. But it was also essential to set some small ones out before it. Being an artist is not particularly easy and I found it incredibly helpful to keep lots of small goals going ahead of me. Each little victory could build the momentum for the next and when I felt daunted by a long term goal I had plenty of smaller tasks to keep myself engaged in the studio.
One of the challenges most artists face is the incredible amount of non-art work that it takes to present ones works of art. There is a lot of work to be done for documentation, websites, and advertisement, etc. I am constantly finding myself stretched in skill sets I didn’t initially consider. It’s been a great lesson to learn and has significantly broadened my view when I am considering a new project. The strange needs of art production and installation has afforded me skills from a dozen vocations and raised the need of service from a dozen more. What I feel is most valuable is the broadened view I apply to projects. I am looking at things with a greater expectation that their will be something weird to figure out. In a sense Ive learned to look wider than the task. A sculptor might measure their art to see if it can fit through a door, but can the cart that holds its weight fit through the door as well? Its a simple analogy that can scale up to the whole of the art business. I am constantly asking myself, “What is gonna hang this up?” so I can be prepared and keep things running smoothly. A good friend of mine used to say, “Efficiency is the finest form of laziness.” Craig was right. But for me, efficiency in my system of work creates more time for making art and a greater productivity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Griffith observatory is probably a top destination for me. Animal Tracks out in Agua Dulce is the most fun animal experience! And a great cause to donate too.
Lost Spirits distillery is an amazing night out.
Two words. TACO STANDS. As many as possible. Tiny buildings only, no building preferred. This is probably the most important.
One of my favorite things about LA is how many amazing small businesses are spread all around the city. I love picking a new neighborhood and strolling the main drag for tiny restaurants, galleries, and funky shops. They are everywhere and truly make LA a perpetually interesting city. I’m all about the stroll. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am completely indebted to my teachers. I am privileged to have had artistic parents that encouraged my art making process from a very young age. In Jr. High my first formal art teacher was Ms. Green. She was the first person to display my work outside my family and I’ve been enamored with making art ever since. Guy Kinnear was my mentor in undergrad and is most responsible for my technical knowledge and shameless love of materials. Another hero for me is the community of fellow artists. No one is self made and I could not be here without an amazing team of friends that have helped me create shows and build work along the way. My critique crew has been an immeasurable help to me in guiding towards visually and conceptually stronger work.
All images are my own.