Tylor Traxler isn’t shy about showing up. Through his raw rap music, heartfelt poetry, and street-meets-cubist style paintings, he reveals his innermost feelings about divinity, love and change. The contemporary artist, who goes by “Traxler” or “Trax,” is also constantly putting his work out to the public to build connections and opportunities, always seeking to answer “What’s next?”
One example occurred on May 6, when Traxler presented an exhibition called The Son Gazes Back at You in Marfa, Texas. He knew the community would be buzzing during the Marfa Invitational art weekend, so he created a new series, packed up his car, rented a location, promoted his presence and inserted himself into the art-loving scene. Thanks to that show, he is now collaborating with Topo Chico to create product labels and has been invited to return to Marfa in October for a month-long residency at the Marfa Open Gallery. We met with Traxler to learn how his life powers his art and vice versa.
What was your favorite part of presenting your work in Marfa?
My favorite part of the Marfa experience was just pulling it off. You know, it proved a lot to me. I knew that I had the capacity to have a show; that’s what I do. I knew that I had art that I enjoyed and that people seem to enjoy, and I knew I was trying to make a career and life out of this, but I hadn’t tested it … I was just really intrigued by a town of artists.
Describe your art.
“Divine interface,” if I had to give a two-word description — just using it as self-reflection and inward-looking, more so than outward aesthetic value. It’s like a shadow of my life, in a dark way and in the lightest possible way. Yeah, the best way to put it is “an interface with the divine.” It’s the closest I’ve come to church in a long time.
What does your creative process look like?
What I’ve been doing lately is I’ll write a narrative. I’ll write a whole story, and a lot of the time these stories are insane, almost like sci-fi novels. And from that I will extract messaging — essentially, what’s the language that’s being spoken? What are the symbols? What do they represent? How does it represent how you’re feeling at the time? How do you plug in photos from your life? There are times when I’ll add a photo from my life … and it takes on its own life when it becomes an art piece. Plugging in elements from my own life, plugging in elements from these narrative structures … to extract symbolism and flesh that out through color, through form, through mosaics … it doesn’t matter if I’m using oil, acrylic, pastel or pencil, as long as the image is made and the idea is captured.
You produce paintings, poetry and music. You also have clothing lines you’ve developed. Do these various mediums relate to one another in any way?
One hundred percent. It’s all synonymous. Everything that I do is a circle of me … The poetry goes hand in hand with the art. If you read my poetry, you’ll get the same feeling … It feels good to have it in multiple mediums. My ultimate goal is to have a brick-and-mortar location that’s retail-based that is all of this combined … where I can distribute everything and just give myself as much as I can.