Tyler Davis on Music Influencing His Visual Artwork


By Lynette Santoro-Au, director of ROY G BIV Gallery

Columbus artist Tyler Davis grew up on the South East Side of Columbus and is one of nearly 60 artists who are exhibiting in ROY G BIV Gallery’s SmallWorks exhibition, running Dec. 11 – Jan. 2. In the exhibition, artists were challenged to create work no larger than 12” by 12”. Recently Tyler and I met for a chat on Zoom and I was able to ask the following questions.

Lynette: Can you share a bit about your background and how music in particular has influenced you?
Tyler: I grew up on the South East Side of Columbus between two homes, my single mom (40+) and grandmother (70+). Chunks of my life can be orchestrated into a playlist of music whether they have direct correlation to me or simply what I was listening to at the time. Memories of my Ma’ doing home cardio blaring “The New Workout Plan,” and my Grandma’ humming “Enchantment” while cooking Sunday dinner. Music has become a source for me to escape, express and explain myself… Playing specific records to engulf myself in moods/thoughts to develop the work. Exploring this further by pulling influence/inspiration from albums, songs and verses/choruses by varied music artist to create specific pieces. Using sculpture, mixed media, text, painting, zines and installation to create visual annotations that speak on self-assessment/reflection on social and racial injustice.

Lynette: How did you find ROY G BIV Gallery?
Tyler: I’ve always been engaged in the arts, first as a student at AIMS and then Fort Hayes and so I’ve been aware of ROY for some time. Exhibiting at ROY fulfills a childhood dream of mine. It is another art goal realized, my next step in my art journey.

Lynette: Were you challenged to create works smaller than 12” by 12”?
Tyler: I often work in different sizes, creating wherever and whenever I can. I am challenged to create in different sizes depending on where my art takes me. Sometimes I have an idea first; sometimes I have a canvas to fill. I’m always working. I was already thinking about the end of the year and what I could contribute to SmallWorks when I received your email.

Lynette: What are you working on now?
Tyler: Work for my show in April at ROY G BIV Gallery. I am experimenting with different sizes of work. I am finding new ways to create. I’m reflecting on 2020 and that is influencing what I am making for April’s exhibit.

Lynette: I know music is a huge influencer of your work; what are you listening to right now?
Tyler: Generally, I listen to a wide variety of music. Some older stuff and newer stuff as well. “Nowhere2go_12” is one of a collection of work titled after “Nowhere2go” a song by Earl Sweatshirt from his third studio album. Earl is someone I draw a lot of influence in my own studio practice from his oversimplification of his production and lyrics to his discussion on themes of isolationism, nuclear family structure, self-reflection and depression. Always feeling in this endless loop of finding solace in one’s desire to be alone, but needing to break those molds to live a happy life, but having to keep up with it and do better each and every time.

Lynette: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Tyler: I’ve been reflecting on how art opens doors for people. How pockets of creativity in the community are finding ways to make art. Many are flourishing and still creating despite what’s going on in the world, or maybe because of it. Artists always find a way!

The holidays are more artful with ROY G BIV Gallery’s annual members-only show SmallWorks, Dec. 11 – Jan. 2. Work measures no larger than 12” by 12” for 2D work and 12” by 12” by 12” for 3D work. In this cash-and-carry exhibit, artists receive 65% of sales and the 35% ROY retains is invested back into the gallery. For more information, visit www.roygbivgallery.org.

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