What’s an image worth without original context? A work of art altered in colors, purpose or form. Do these artifacts continue to hold their inherent meaning, or are they stripped of that in transformation?
Thriving on the “rawness of chaos,” California native and digital artist Tyler Spangler pushes both concepts—of continuity and the artistic license of visual evolution—collaging had-been permanence with new-age digital alterations. Layering separate concepts, Spangler not only creates amazing works of art, but initiates conversations around the mode of documentation and visual connectivity in intensified colors, content and appeal.
A rarity is in Spangler’s conjunction of his digital easel and the printed form, boasting six published works (we’re talking, like, gorgeous 400-page, perfect-bound published works) and an unlikely appreciation for the physical in this hard-drive driven world.
Employing his unique, thought-provoking edits and amplified value, Spangler’s stills and memes recreate life as it coulda, woulda, shoulda, filling an otherwise tired context to join the visual trimmings of digital with existing, often antiquated, narratives.


I feel like I’m looking at a series of acid trips. Is there any truth in that…

I actually don’t do anything. I don’t even drink caffeine. I just love to distort and satirize things.

Tell us about the influences of your Psych background on your work and the relationships between what is original and what is alteration. Is there a deep psyche process behind your distortion of reality?

I learned that everything is a perception and there are very few absolute truths. I like to challenge peoples heuristics. We all have assumptions and I think its fun to insert a dissonant piece into those assumptions.

Your pieces are chaotic, but are you? In both your personal life and your creative,working life (or are those the same?), do you find that you strive on chaos? Explain, please.

I am actually a really introverted and calm person in my personal life. I like harmony and structure. However, when I make things I love a sort of organized chaos. I also love hardcore punk, extreme metal, and things like that so I’m not really sure what to think. I like the rawness of chaos. I love the unedited honesty that comes with it.

You’re a book machine with six published collections. What is it that you like about the printed works vs. your digital collages? Is it the process or the tangible piece?

It is basically a way for me to have a physical collection of my work. Its hard to comprehend how much work you are making when it is all filed neatly into one folder on your computer. When I see these huge 440 page hardcover books it makes everything very real. I feel like I have actually compiled a lot of work.

What is currently inspiring you? Sounds, people, places, tastes, movies, etc., etc., etc.

When I get interested in something, I get fanatical and try to learn everything there is to know about the subject. I used to religiously play this video game Counter-Strike but recently have gotten sucked into this game Dota 2. It is so complex and otherworldly. I have been playing it non-stop for the past 2 weeks.

On a completely different note, this time of year is the season for surfing Rincon. Rincon is a world class point break near Santa Barbara, California that only breaks during the winter. I live only an hour away and will usually go once a week and spend the whole day surfing. It is really revitalizing and I think it refreshes my work. I get completely sucked into these two activities and I think its healthy to take your mind off work for a while.

When you’re creating for clients, be they musicians or surfers, how much of your own inspiration comes through and how much is inspired by the subject? Are there personal ties to both areas that inspire you?

I try to take all my inspiration from myself. What I mean is that I try and treat it like I am just creating for myself. That sounds selfish but the client has come to me because they like what they’ve seen and I feel that the main way for us to keep that consistency is to limit the client’s input as much as possible. I usually like to take a 80% my input and 20% client input approach. I usually attract similar minds though so there usually isn’t any conflict when deciding a direction.

What’s your creative space like? Is it a desk? Is there food? Music playing? Any pets, people running around?

My creative space is a 250 sq. ft trailer on the beach in Pacific Palisades, California. I share it with my wife and our little one eyed terrier. My computer desk is also used as my wife’s desk and our dinner table which is technically in our kitchen. I am consistently eating and listening to Electric Wizard. I can see the ocean from my desk which is across the street! I can definitely sacrifice space for proximity to the ocean.

Anymore underground punk venues in your future? If so, we want in!

I really really want to do another one. That was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done and I still watch videos of the shows we had. I think if I did another one I would do it the same way. It was more exciting not having any red tape.

For more from Tyler, visit his website.