One Strange Music fan finds his artistic individuality painting Strange Music artists on an unusual space.
Finding passion for certain activities can be difficult for some people. However, Tyler Brooks was easily inspired through the influence of Strange Music to create unique works of art. He does not take his paintbrush to canvas, though – he creates his masterpieces on lighters!
Read on as he discusses the beginnings of his interest in art, what influences brought him to paint on lighters, and how the Independent Powerhouse Tour helped him find motivation to continue his craft.
Tell us about yourself and where you’re from.
I’m from Peru, Indiana, which is a real small town. I’ve been doing art for a long, long time – since as far back as I can remember, actually. When I was younger, I was a little bit more artistic than most. Actually, it’s kind of a funny story. I knew from the beginning: when I was in kindergarten, we had to do one of those placement classes. We had to draw a person, and the teacher called my mom and told her, “This is kind of strange, I’ve never seen this before”. So she showed her the picture I drew and I had drawn fingernails, toenails, eyeballs, pretty much every aspect of the person while everyone else was drawing stick figures.
I knew I was into art from the very beginning, and it was going to be a big part of my life. Growing up, it definitely was, because you don’t have much to do in a small town in Indiana, so it kept me busy.
What made you decide to do painting?
Growing up and seeing that’s what a lot of bigger artists are doing, especially with school. That definitely got me into it, ’cause we had [class] requirements. Plus, I wanted to learn as many different mediums as I could and I wanted to excel in as many different ones as possible. I would try everything I could, anything I could put my hands on, and school really helped out with that because they usually supply me with a lot of the stuff I can use.
I really do like painting, though, because it’s very easy for me to work with – one of the more forgiving ones. When you make a mistake, you can fix it a little easier than some other sorts of mediums.
We’ve seen some of the artists painted on multiple canvases, but rarely do we see lighters. What made you decide to paint on lighters instead of a normal canvas?
There wasn’t a particular reason. I had done a couple other things before I started doing the Strange artists. The first one I did was a tiger because, like I said, I’ve always wanted to expand as an artist and do different things, just like any artist does in any kind of field. You want to do things that nobody else is doing and things that really get people’s attention, but are still also unique.
I wanted to challenge myself. When I started doing the lighters – I think I did one just for fun a long, long time ago – someone said, “You should do that more often”. Then, he started showing it to people.
Later down the road, when I was in Las Vegas, I came across the idea again. I brought it back up in my memory and thought, “Maybe that would be something unique”. So I tried to go along with that and see if it would even work, but it did and it turned out a lot better than I expected it to.
Who is the first artist that you painted?
It was Tech N9ne. I did a Sickology 101 lighter. I always thought the album cover was really, really sick. That was the first one I wanted to do. I was really surprised with how well it turned out and how easy I was able to paint it. It did take some adapting to get used to it. After I did that one, I took it to the Independent Powerhouse Tour when they stopped up here in Indianapolis. I had it with me and I ended up losing it there that night, which was devastating but it was also kind of bittersweet because after I lost it, that really got me motivated to want to do more and make a statement with them.
I designed the next Tech N9ne one after that, which was with his new face paint – the one that we first saw on the Independent Powerhouse Tour. From there, I figured I’d do all the artists and stick with it and just keep doing them because it was beginning to make an impact with Strange fans. People really like them. I wanted to give a good tribute to Strange Music as well, because it’s helped me out quite a bit throughout my life, with their music and everything.
What tools do you use for your paintings?
My main tool was Copic markers followed by some acrylic paint.
Out of all of the artists, which one was the most difficult to paint?
I think Tech N9ne. The first one I did after I got back from losing the original one was a little easier because I was so influenced to do it that I was in the zone and I wanted to get it done and get redemption for losing that one. There’s quite a few ones that took me upwards of 6 or 7 hours. A little bit more detail went into the Stevie Stone one.
I think the placements and the angles of certain ones was tough to get on the lighter. Making them sit and still get the accuracy of how they looked as well as making it fit on the lighter. There were multiple times I would wipe the slate clean completely after having something done and start over because it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
We know the artists are pretty stoked to receive paintings of themselves, their album covers, etc. What is the biggest reward for you as the artist?
Just to make a statement and give payback. With the Strange Music ones, I loved it because they really appreciated it and it’s good to see that feedback and see them loving what I’m doing while I’m loving what they’re doing. So in turn, it’s kind of an exchange of the arts. They inspired me so I can turn back and hopefully inspire them in different ways, as well as other fans that see that.
That really was the biggest turnaround for me – to have that exchange of different kinds of forms of art. People get inspired by each other, and that’s really what I wanted to achieve.
How far would you like to take your paintings? Is there anything you’re aiming for in the future?
Yeah, I definitely just want to make some kind of impact in the world, as far as getting my name out there, too. Letting people know what I can do and see what I can do. Also, to be able to help people out as well as making an impact just like your artists do.
I am looking forward to trying to expand, not lighters necessarily, since Bic has the copyrights. Those are kind of just a tribute and a personal kind of thing. That’s what I’m pursuing right now, but thinking about the future, all I care about is making an impact and making something important of myself.
What impact has Strange Music made on your life?
Wow, it’s been quite a bit. I first started listening to more of Tech N9ne and Strange Music artists when I started getting into high school. I was going through some pretty dark times, which I know with Strange, a lot of the fans have been like that.
Strange has always been something people can relate to, because it’s so real. People are always talking about “the realest artist”, everyone’s “the realest”. The ones that are the realest are independent artists, because they actually care about their art and don’t let other people ruin it and step on it. I’m not saying there are real ones out there that aren’t independent, but most often, when you look at the independent artists, they definitely make more of their work as an art.
I met my girlfriend, and she’s a die-hard fan, too. We had that compatibility and shared that [love of Strange Music], which is awesome. From there, we really connected and started listening to a lot more. I wouldn’t trade her for the world, I’m glad I met her.
[Strange Music] has done so many things in my life, especially the Independent Powerhouse Tour when they came here. I probably would have done these lighters down the road, but that’s what really got me motivated. Not just losing that lighter, but also seeing them doing their thing firsthand right in front of you, with the energy. Everything about them that makes them them, their uniqueness, their art – seeing how each artist is unique and has their own angle, yet at the same time cohesive as a group. It really spoke to me when I saw them on stage, and it really got me inspired.
I can say the impact has been throughout my whole life, [it has been] very prominent.
Check out more lighters he has created below:
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