Interview with Tyler the Girl

Where are you from and how has that affected you?

I’m from this small town outside of the city called Levittown, it’s a half hour outside of Philadelphia. It was not the nicest town in America, let’s just say that, so my only goal when I was a child was to figure out how to get out of that and not stay there for the rest of my life. That’s probably how that affected me, I was like, “How can I become so successful that I can leave this very small, I wouldn’t say shithole but….”

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When I was eight years old I was sitting inside of my guidance counselors office and she asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I looked around the room and I kind of had no idea but I saw all the National Geographic pictures hung up on her walls and I was like, “I want to be a photographer.” I’m pretty sure I didn’t say the word right but I wanted to take those pictures. Ever since then, I always had a camera in my hand, I was taking home movies or little music videos when I was nine or 10 to Selena. I would force my friends to do them so they hated me and then I made a really embarrassing Youtube channel. At a very young age I knew I wanted to torment everyone around me by always having a camera in my hand.

Why did you end up moving to Philadelphia?

I always knew I wanted to live in the city, I always had this romantic feeling towards the feeling of living in the city, being on a rooftop and eating Chinese food on my bed. Then I got accepted into Temple and that was cool, then the next week I moved into this house in South Philly. I didn’t want to live in the dorms and also my parents didn’t really know I was going to college until like a week before. I left, got an apartment and that’s how my love story with Philadelphia began.

Do you feel like artists should go to school? Do you think it helps?

My first year that I went to school, I went for Photography and I fell so hard out of love with it. I didn’t like the structure of being told what to take photos of or always needing a meaning behind it or under the conditions of art in that manner. Art to me personally has always just been kind of a feeling and a feeling I want to create and sometimes I can’t put that into words. When I take a photo or make a video I want somebody to feel a specific way, like home or really warm. I think that school was really important for me because I found a lot of home within that, I found a lot of growth within that but the education wasn’t necessarily instrumental to my trajectory. It just helped me figure out a lot more about myself than I probably would have on my own. Do I think you have to go to art school? Absolutely not.

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I don’t think anybody really needs to go to school besides doctors and lawyers or engineers. I think for artists it’s good if you need a place to grow that’s not on your own. I think it was also a little different for me because I did go to school later in life and I took a lot of semesters off so I had a big taste of the real world. When I was in school I was also working 60 hours every week to pay for school that my parents didn’t know I was going to. I had this Hannah Montana type life where I was a real life adults but also in school full-time trying to get those last grasps of what it’s like to be young and in college. It was real weird on the inside, I felt perpetually 18 in a 23 year old’s body.

What do you think is the purpose of your work?

I think the main objective for me being on this earth or anything I produce is that I just want people to feel this feeling of home and warmth, whether they’re looking at it or working with me, all I ever want is for me to be the place that they come to feel comfortable like they can say whatever they want, they can pick their nose, they can tell me their deep dark secrets and feel safe. If I never do it again, that’s all I want people to remember, the only thing I’ll ever leave on this earth is that feeling and that is okay with me.

So, you’re vegan, what’s that like and what’s the motivation?

I’ve been a vegetarian for about 14 years now and then I moved to the city and my partner at the time was vegan, the house I moved into was vegan so I thought it would probably be the right time. I’m an overly empathetic person so when I was really little I would bring in all the lawn furniture and all the trash and all the toys when it was raining outside. I would bring it in the house because I was sad that it was getting wet and I thought they were sad that they were getting wet.

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So I think that empathy drove my vegetarianism which then led to me being vegan. It’s been a really important part of my life and being in Philadelphia, the vegan community has been the most beautiful part of my life here. It’s just always been the choice for me.

What are your plans for the future?

Right now I really love working with DIY musicians at a commercial level. For the future I really want to do tour productions so kind of what the tour fabrications look like and the projections on that. Creative direction for artists in general, so what their album cover looks like and how their music videos align with that and figure out visualizations for what they’re speaking about in their music. There’s no name for it, so we’ll figure that out when it comes.

Tyler’s work can be found on her website Tylerthegirl.studio or on Instagram @Tylerthegirl

**Please see CuRated in print for exclusive room tour with Tyler**

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