Kayce Tynan is a senior communication design major with an emphasis in graphic design at Chico State. Kayce has long blonde hair and can be seen walking around campus wearing tie-dye and cat shirts.
How did you decide on your major?
Lots of trial and error. I switched my major three times until I got to this one. It was sociology, art, applied computer graphics and now it’s this graphic design major. I’ve always had a passion for art; it’s just always been something that I’ve been kind of inclined to do.
Sociology seemed cool because I just wanted to help people, save the world, whatever. Then I changed to art because I thought that would be cool, but I guess being an art major in school kind of ruined it for me because you’re forced to do it all the time, which is kind of crippling when it’s stuff you don’t really like doing and you’re creatively stunted. Then I did applied computer graphics, which was interesting, but I didn’t want to commit my life to it. I decided that graphic design could help me incorporate a real life opportunity/job together with my art.
Let’s talk about your art specifically. Do you have a general theme? And could you describe your work?
Illustrative for sure. I guess I would describe it as really beautiful but also really not beautiful, like kind of creepy and dark and twisted and scary, but I’ve definitely been leaning more toward ethereal beings I guess, for lack of a better word, and really spacey, beautiful color, intricate type of things. I really like drawing beautiful women with long, big hair with long, slender fingers and big lips, that’s something that I draw a lot, which is kind of creepy. Like all encompassing, probably just an ethereal mess.
Could you talk about the materials you use to create your work?
I really like pen and ink, that’s one of my favorite types of materials. I also really like watercolor and “Prismacolor” pencils, which I normally incorporate all together to make something a little edgy. I’m not very good at painting; I wish I were. And I sometimes use Photoshop for some images to get a spacey background or something that would normally take too long with regular color pencils, which is kind of cheating, but it looks cool, so whatever.
How long have you been working this particular theme you’ve been describing?
Probably like two years ago is when I really started getting good at what I was doing. Before, it was just doodles and stuff I thought was good but really wasn’t at all, and now I know that, especially seeing what I’m producing now. It’s kind of scary because I know in like two years I’ll be like ‘Oh my god, I thought that was good’ and it’s just completely shitty even though I’m really proud of it right now. But I guess it was two years ago that I really started getting serious about it and gaining more confidence in my abilities and also getting commissions from friends and bands, which is really encouraging, so that’s definitely something I want to go toward.
Is there any particular piece that you’re exceptionally proud of?
My most recent piece that I created, which is a t-shirt design for a band called “Sea In The Sky.” It’s a square and it’s one of those ladies I was talking about earlier with the big hair, and there’s a bunch of fish in it, and her head is tilted and she’s crying these black tears and it kind of spills into the text, which is “Sea In The Sky.” It’s the most intricate thing I’ve ever done and it’s the most time and passion I’ve ever put into a piece before, so each piece I make just gets better and better, which is really encouraging.
Where do you get these ideas?
Normally I get so stressed out because I haven’t been doing art, so then I just force myself to come up with stuff, but I don’t even know! That’s something people always ask me and I don’t really know, it just kind of happens. I really like browsing Pinterest I guess and I looking at really beautiful fantasy landscapes, and that really inspires me as of late. I follow a lot of artists on Instagram who are constantly inspiring me. But when it comes to my ideas, I just normally grow off of what I’ve already had success with. For example, certain types of line work, and I incorporate different types of objects that I think would work well with that line work, which is kind of dumb because I should probably be expanding my horizons instead of doing the same thing over and over again, but yeah.
Could you go into more detail about your process for creating stuff?
Sure. It depends, normally my best ideas have come to me right before I’m about to go to sleep, and all of a sudden my brain just comes up with a crazy image and I’m just like, ‘Oh, that’d be cool,’ or just a crazy combination of objects, and then I write it down so I remember it. Then I normally start off with a very basic little sketch, a very quick gesture sketch of what I want to do, and then I put it on a larger piece of paper with a more detailed sketch, then I just go from there. I always start with a basic idea and add more detail as I go along to make it more intricate.
Is there anyone in particular whose work you really enjoy and can bring out that inspiration in you?
I’m a really, really big fan of Alex Pardee, he’s amazing; he creates these insane monsters and it’s really cool because even though they’re the most grotesque things ever, he still makes them beautiful by the colors he uses, which is really cool. James Jean is another one; he just throws together figures with the most insane objects and just comes up with a really cohesive piece. There’s also this guy on Instagram, @lr_illustration, and he creates really cool skeleton illustrations, like nighttime, spooky stuff. I’m all about the spooky stuff.
Earlier you were talking about some of the things you’re working on. Could you talk more about the projects you’ve got going on or stuff you’re looking forward to?
Right now I’m just focusing on my portfolio review so that my life doesn’t end, but my friend Sam who’s in that band I mentioned, “Sea In The Sky,” he’s commissioning me for cover art for his new EP that’s coming out. It’s called “Somber,” and it’s his solo project, and I’m really excited for that because I’m going to throw out some crazy Prismacolor pencil action and hopefully make some really cool lighting, which I’ve never really experimented with before, so hopefully make some glowey blue shit go on, like just some real, artsy, crazy, cool, fantasy stuff, like not cheesy fantasy, but like the kind of fantasy you want to dream about and be happy in and feel warm about when you think of it. Sorry if that sounds really vague.
No, I actually feel like that description totally encompasses your work when I think about it. I definitely get those vibes. I get excited when you put up a picture of your new work!
Oh my gosh, you’re going to make me cry.
So what’re you trying to do after you graduate?
Good question. I don’t know. Ideally, this is probably kind of far-fetched, but before I get a real job, I’d really like to hook on with a band, be their merch-bitch for a while and just create art for them while they’re on tour, like do all their merch for them. That’d be really cool. Maybe work for a snowboard or skate company and do graphics for them. I’m not really sure. I think it’s one of those things that I’m going to figure out once I actually get out there and start looking at options and seeing what I can do. Even working for a non-profit could be cool and just doing graphics, illustrations or website design for them.
Okay, last question: what, overall, is one thing you’ve learned from art?
To be very patient with yourself. I’ve always kind of struggled with the dark, twisted artist thing because I’m not my most inspired when I’m feeling sad, surprisingly enough. I feel most inspired when I feel happy and excited about the future, so I guess it’s just patience with myself and knowing that I can get better. It’s a meditative thing for me to just focus on a drawing for hours and not have to think; it’s really soothing.
To support your local artist/poor college student, go purchase some of Kayce’s stickers on her Etsy page.
To see some of Kayce’s cool Photoshopped photos or more of her recent illustrations, follow her on Instagram @kaycedilla_ and creep away.
Written by Christine Zuniga, “Feature Friday” writer and web editor/publisher for Chico State’s KCSC Radio.
Christine can be reached via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @kissssteen.