Tyler Scheidt received his MFA in painting and printmaking from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston in 2013 and has exhibited throughout the United States. Although an east-‐coast native, he is currently living and working in San Francisco, California.
I am interested in how our experience of the physical interacts with the psychological to create something beyond what is initially perceived. Influenced by our complex relationship to the world around us, and the laws of physics that govern them, these images are pieced together in fragments, creating an environment that is both familiar and strange. The relationships between these parts, and the weaving of space, form a balance in a chaotic reality.
Existing as a threshold space, this work hovers between the real and abstract, the physical and metaphysical realms, as still moments of transition in a world of constant flux. The textured surfaces of my paintings become not a sequential narrative, but the residue of information, memory, and touch as accumulated material, referencing the structures in which we live our lives.
Interview with Tyler Scheidt
Can you talk a bit about the art scene in San Francisco? What is the vibe like there for artists?
There are a lot of artists here in San Francisco and the Bay Area, but it still seems small enough that you can get to know the community. It’s a very creative city and there are always plenty of events going on. Having only been here for two years and not having gone to school in the area, I honestly feel like I am just starting to break into the scene here. For a while when I first moved to California I was just working quietly in my studio and focused on making paintings. Looking back, I think a bit of seclusion at first is what I needed right after coming out of grad school.
Can you describe your working routine? Do you have a daily studio practice? What is the most important part of maintaining a successful studio practice?
Ideally I would love to make it to my studio everyday but I am also working full time in order to make a living. One of the biggest challenges for me is finding the time to paint as much as I would like. Realistically, I make it to my studio at least four times a week. I think the most important part of maintaining a successful practice is dedication to put in the time. And not just any time spent, but time spent in ways that are valuable towards the progression of your practice and challenge something or a change/move forward. A friend of mine recently had some great advice: “Don’t work harder, work smarter.”
Can you give us some insight into your process? How do you begin? Do you keep a sketchbook/does drawing play a part in your work?
For me, painting is a slow process. I often work with layers of oil paint; similar to a collage-like process, where each layer painted informs the next. Often times I use tape to mask certain areas off. I also sand or scrape down paint on the canvas, working reductively to reveal the past. That being said, I usually have several pieces in progress simultaneously, allowing each painting to move through a series of changes organically.
I do still keep a sketchbook these days, but it’s mainly filled with pages of crude pencil drawings that help me plan out the first couple moves of a painting. There is something interesting that happens when you can feel the physicality of the search in a painting. Or when you can see the history of it’s making within the layers and the build up of materials on the surface.
Do you ever experience the equivalent to “writers block” for artists? If so, how do you get in the creative mindset and flow?
If I feel like I am getting into a rut, I’ll take an unfinished painting and ruin it on purpose. I’ll scratch the whole thing down with a razor blade, paint over it with a bold area of color, or anything else to get lost or create a problem to solve. I’ll then try to find a solution though something new. I’m a person that likes to figure things out, so I think it’s these problems that get me into a creative mindset when working.
How does your artist statement function for you? Do you think it is an important element in the practice of being an artist?
Artist statements are important, but should act as a supplement or support to the work and is not something that should be relied on. They should provide insight, but not dictate the viewer’s experience. The language of painting communicates in ways unique to its medium, and is meant to be experienced that way.
Are there a few artists that you are looking at currently?
This list is always changing, however some contemporary artists that I admire recently are Francesca DiMattio, Keltie Ferris, Jules De Balincourt, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Nichole Van Beek, Trudy Benson, Russell Tyler and many more. Also, older painters such as Al held, Albert Oehlen, Matisse, DeKooning and Rauschenberg. I also have always been interested in traditional Japanese woodcuts and the way spatial relationships are structured.
Has your work been influenced by other disciplines that aren’t rooted in the visual arts?
Throughout my entire life I have always been very passionate about science and physics. Constantly I am interested in how our world works and how we interact with our surroundings on both a physical and psychological level. Recently, my paintings deal with these relationships to the world around us, and how our relative point of view affects our sense of reality.
What do you listen to while you work? Is boredom something you have to contend with in the studio?
Usually psych-rock, heavy doom metal, or ambient electronica tunes. Sometimes Bay Area rap. I often have to deal with an extreme sense of frustration while in the studio, but I am rarely bored.
Do you have any shows coming up? Anything else you would like to share?
I have no shows lined up in the immediate future, but I am actively looking to change that.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us!
Thanks for the interview!
To Find out more about Tyler and his work, check out his website!