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Friday, 6 November 2015

INTERVIEW: Tyler Thrasher Art

All images used with permission of Tyler Thrasher. 

Being balanced in the liminal space between the world of medicine and art, I spend about as much time finding new artists and inspiring myself as I do learning how to treat people - at its most discrete, it's still two sides of the same coin for me. 

It was in one of these late night art binges way back in spring that I chanced across Tyler Thrasher, a graduate of Missouri University working in the very unique field of crystalline taxidermy; as well as a dizzying range of skills ranging from traditional media to caving and electronic music, Thrasher has combined his creative process with his passion for alchemy and perfected the unpredictable process of growing almost parasitic crystals on cicadas, bones, and shells. The result is unique transformations that take nature's detritus and form it into a stunning work of art, which forms part of the recent revival of artistic interest in the occult and ritual. 

As you can tell, I enjoy enthusing to others about things that excite me, so I emailed Tyler and he graciously agreed to an interview that I've shared with you readers.

I saw you’ve just got back from Iceland – it seemed like a good trip! How has it been inspiring you?

Iceland is literally one of most magical places I've visited! Absolutely unreal, and it's been a huge inspiration. I already draw a lot of inspiration from natural themes, especially while I'm hiking or caving. Iceland is so drastically different from any other landscape I've seen and its really been giving me a fresh lens to view my work through. I've been playing with ideas regarding moss and lichen, which are an absolute abundance in Iceland. So we'll see where that goes!

The transformative nature of the geography does lend itself to your style. What impact has the different places you’ve lived in had on your work?

I don't really feel like I had anything to call "my work" until I moved to Springfield, Missouri for school. That's where I really began hiking, caving, and producing music. I really rediscovered myself while studying in Missouri, and the gorgeous Ozark terrain did play a huge role in my work. That's also where I began synthesizing my own crystals as well, something you pick up on while exploring miles of underground passage. I also didn't really realize til you asked this question either, but my style does temporarily change while I'm travelling. There seems to be a cohesive aesthetic of everything I make while on a particular trip that doesn't last when i get return home. It may be a mixture of the environment, landscape, palette, and personal/ emotional investment towards that trip.

During the summer I visited Barcelona, and was very inspired by the work of Antoni Gaudi; the overlap between mathematics and nature was something that spoke to me in your pieces too. How do the different concepts in your art relate?

I've always found wonder in chemistry and the subatomic particles that make up the material world. The reason I love chemistry is because it's one of the more concrete sciences. You can quantify nearly every aspect of it, and break it down to near exact numbers. Some of other scientific fields can be more subjective and theoretical, and while those fields have their own category of inspiration and wonder - I prefer studying the physical materials that we and everything else are comprised of.

That's really interesting, as beyond the chemistry crystallization process seems so unpredictable! As well as your famous crystallized pieces, you’re constantly expanding the other mediums you work in. What is the attraction in this for you?

I'm honestly just intrigued by so freaking much. While crystallization is a weird unconventional artistic medium, I do think it's important to study and celebrate the more traditional mediums that have stood the test of time. Also, I just really enjoy making stuff! My creative process is sort of a domino effect, I go from inspiration to inspiration, painting to painting, and series to series and eventually I stumble on a unique and exciting idea that is either feasible and possible with my given resources, or outlandish and to be reserved for a later time or someone else.

You spend a lot of time sharing your process on Instagram and Facebook, amongst other platforms, and not a few locations have been subject to a #thrashcache. As well as the obvious benefits in notoriety, is accessibility of art and engagement with the public something you value?

ABSOLUTELY. This is sort of a topic I take very passionately, so I will keep my response short of a rant ha ha!

Art in my self-validated opinion has always been about community and sharing ideas, and I think that's an element we should always keep in the practice of art. Art can be a very selfish practice as well. There are too many artists who expect society and their community to keep them afloat while they lock themselves up in the studio and give back very little. While I do think it's valuable and necessary for society to take care of it's artists, I do think it is vital that these creatives share their genius with society (not to say I'm a genius, ha ha!), but it is important that you spread your ideas and work with others. There's no telling how you could inspire them, or better yet, how they can inspire you. 

There's such an amazing community of individuals who have and are funding my work regularly and I still haven't figured out how to handle/ comprehend it. It all happened so fast that my only response right now is "Oh god! Here have some free s***!" I regularly do art drops as a tiny thank you towards the people who engage with my work, and for those who haven't found my work yet, and while I know my work isn't for everyone (as is true with literally everything but air and food) I'll usually purchase a gift card to leave behind for the establishment that's letting me leave my art there. This way if someone doesn't like the work, they at least found a free coffee! There are so many other ways to give back to society and I'm still trying to figure all of those out, as leaving behind a bunch of prints and crystallized dead stuff has it's limitations.

What’s coming up in the future?

A lot! I'm working on a game with Proteus Pixel called "Through Ashes and Fog". I will be the lead animator and artistic director for this indie game! I will also be putting out a small book comprised of my digital insect/alchemy paintings. I also have a few shows here and there and I will be putting in some serious time and energy into a new House album which will feature a slight change in my musical sound.

Tyler Thrasher can be found at his official website,, as well as on Facebook and Instagram. If you're interested in supporting him further, he also has a Storenvy and a Patreon

Fiona C. 


  1. Wow, these are really beautiful works! I love them! I don't know how he grew the crystals on them, assuming I will find out more if I read more about him, but what an amazing process! I love the idea of "beautifying" something seen as useless remains!

    1. It's been too long since I studied chemistry to understand it, but it's definitely very interesting! I really like the themes of transformation in it.

  2. Asked all the right questions, I'm so happy to have discovered Tyler's art, it's so intertwined with the majority of my artistic inspirations, and feels so familiar in a surreal sense. Just all around awesome :)

    1. Thank you! Interviewing is something I'm still learning how to do. He's definitely at home with a lot of the current neo-occult art out there right now.

  3. Thanks to Laura for sending us here, I have seen some of those creations but thought it was a matter of glue, never thought the crystals were grown on the dead things :-O

    1. It's pretty amazing how it's done; it reminds me of parasitic spores, in many ways? Very much one of a kind.


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