Golden fingers: Interview with artist Tyler Humphreys
The world has so many exceptional artists, the varied expression and 'take' on dogs as a subject simply inspires me each day. Tyler Humphreys has such magic, and he works in a variety of media, including watercolour, but the item that caught my recent roving eye was a commissioned Paper Mache Sculpture of a magnificent Burgamasco used to promote this service offered by Tyler.
Tyler maintains a catalogue of currently available items at his Etsy store, his work includes dogs and other subjects: www.etsy.com/shop/tylersworkshop, he said "Animals, in general, are my specialty. Dogs and cats tend to be my main focus in that they are the most popular domestic pets. Dog owners tend to contact me the most and really take an interest in having their companion's likeness and character captured.
"My favourite breed to portray would have to be Golden Retrievers. They are what automatically comes to mind when I think of a classic 'dog'. I was raised with Goldens, one light and one dark, and they were my first association with dogs. Another breed that has fascinated me since I was a young boy are Corgis. I hope to have a couple someday."
We also discussed inspiration, the subjects are inspiring, but other factors have influenced Tyler's artistic evolution, "I am a huge lover of children’s book illustration, so artists like Arthur Rackham, Hilary Knight and Maurice Sendak. The fluid, graphic lines of the art deco artist Erte. Al Hirschfield the brilliant caricaturist also had a profound influence on me. Also the graphic and bold quality of earlier American comic strips like 'Lil Abner', 'Pogo' and 'Peanuts'. Many of them tended to anthropomorphize animals into compelling characters, which is exactly like what I enjoy doing with my work.
"The sculpture I do was inspired by my mom’s eclectic Christmas ornament collection, as well as the endearing claymation Christmas specials from the 1960s like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Something about the blending of puppetry, movement and sculpture inspired me to want to create my own three dimensional ‘characters.’"
Tyler's current catalogue is vast, and readers will enjoy a variety of work, and perhaps be inspired to commission one for their own collection, "I am available for commissions. I work remotely with the use of photographs. I find that with a few clear photographs and some pertinent notes, I am able to come up with the unique likeness of your animal. You can never provide too many photographs, as my customers will attest to, as I would rather have more reference material than not enough. Having the dog or cat at different angles really helps me to 'flesh' out their likeness. I often find that I will still need to do extra research for breed specific references like bone structure and coat patterns and colors. The internet is fantastic for this!
"Typical prices for my sculptures range anywhere from $125 to $300 and higher." Making them incredible value.
Just alittle more information about this talented artist, "I can’t say that I currently have any favourite dog magazines or books, rather a childhood memory. There was a thick mustard coloured AKC book in our library, and as a small child I would pour over it and study the different dog breeds and their characteristics. I was fascinated by the individuality and personality of each breed, i.e. their origins, personality/ temperament and other breed specific information.
"I collect vintage Halloween and Christmas ornaments. Also a bit of a green thumb and have been known to have too many houseplants at once! I’m in an apartment in New York City so any gardening I can do is minimal."
It was lovely to share Tyler's magical work with readers, and I wish him every success into the future.