WELD Artist of the Week: Tyler Sharp
Career: Photographer | Writer | Filmmaker
Mantra: Soulful wisdom.
Interview by: Kristin Read
How would you describe your artistic style?
I’ve come to the realization that I’m not a studio photographer, or an objective journalist either. Journalism and news is very negative in general. It’s hardly ever uplifting or positive. I decided I wasn’t made for traditional journalism because those aren’t the sorts of stories that I want to tell. I want to share stories of triumph—of things that transcend the human spirit—stories that make people enjoy the human experience. I guess I’ve grown up in fantasy worlds, with Robin Hood, King Arthur, and Star Wars, trying to find magic in the everyday. You can choose to make your world a little more fantastical than it really is. Capture things in places that make the everyday seem more exciting … that would be my style.
As a filmmaker, I’m sure you find quite a bit of inspiration from the work of other filmmakers. Can you think of a few of your favorite short-films you watch regularly?
I know that I have a lot of influences, but I’m not that great at naming them. As strange as it sounds, I draw inspiration from literary sources, and translate that to visual. I’m a major Lord of the Rings fan, and of epic narratives in general. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and love watching ethereal films like Baraka. I’ve also studied Akira Kurosawa, old Kung Fu films, and the grit of westerns. I like bright colors, shallow depths of field, and landscapes that dwarf our usual perspective.
What has your work revealed to you about yourself?
The work I was able to produce while in Tanzania after college was a time of self-discovery. I was acclimated to being by myself, in the bush, with no help, and expected to produce television shows from a tent. So coming back and seeing artists like Austin Mann, Trey Hill, and Jordan Bellamy—I’ve learned a lot from their artistic abilities. Where they are used to travelling with a crane, dollies, sliders, or shooting partners, I’ve never had any of that. Being around other photographers I’ve learned not to try and take on too many things by yourself—there’s always people you can rely on. The way you see yourself is based on the environment you’ve been in. And as of late, this has changed for me.
Have you had the opportunity to work on any collaborative projects with other artists? What has that added to your skill set?
In college, one of my best friends was an upright bass/cello prodigy, and so we would collaborate on my video projects. I would tell him what I wanted to do, and he would show up to critique with instruments, and he would create a score that turned out great every time we did it. It sort of gave me an appreciation for sound design, and the power of music in film.
What would be a “dream” project for you to be a part of?
I’ve been working on a dream project for the last 16 months, but we currently lack the funding we need. I’ve been trying to organize a 400-mile horseback ride up the Chisholm Trail in Texas, and shoot a documentary. It started as a way to help my mom’s hometown of Nocona, which is rich in tradition and history. It would be a month long ride, and we hope to be creating content for Stetson, Shiner, Filson, Historical Museums, Texas Highways magazine, etcetera. There’s currently a bill being reviewed by Congress, that if it passes, this will become a national historic trail. If we can finish this project, it will have historical significance … just waiting on funding.
What inspires you most—music, design, lighting?
Honestly, I’ve moved most by the human spirit, and how that is captured through story. Whether I’m watching a short film, or short video, of people that have been through crazy situations and somehow remain positive … Hearing their stories is what inspires me most.
Favorite past time?
Kung Fu. I’ve been studying it for the last 6 years, and I love it. I loved the Kung Fu movies growing up, and joined the school in 2007. I’ve since started practicing Wing Chun, it’s what Bruce Lee was famous for.