Kyler Garrison – Issue 28 Interview


Kyler Garrison’s interview by Guy Jones from Vague Issue 28 is available to view online now! Find out more about this multi-talented fella below. Kyler Garrison designed some Vague merch for us which you can get hold of here… we ship worldwide and add mags to merch orders for free!

Kyler Garrison ~ Photo: Reece Leung

Introduction by: Josh Stewart

Interview by: Guy Jones

Portrait by: Reece Leung

Gallery Photography by: Sam ‘Blinky’ Hutchinson

Skate Photography by: Cole Giordano + Reece Leung



There are a lot of skaters who are simply talented on the board and then there are a select few who exude creativity in everything they do; unique weirdos like Mark Gonzales, Ed Templeton or Jahmal Williams, whose own unique views of the world have helped shape our understanding of what makes up skate culture. Kyler Garrison is tip-toeing in similar footsteps, but not for any other reason than it simply being in his blood. Be it through graffiti, fine art or skateboarding, in my limited time with Kyler he seems content just doing his own thing with little need for exterior confirmation. Thankfully, he’s open enough to share his creative endeavors with us and doesn’t mind having a VX pointed at him

from time to time. Because of all his interests and hobbies, his finesse on a skateboard is light-years ahead of his very few years on this planet. At 21 Kyler may only just be getting started but, from what I’ve seen already, we’re all lucky that skateboarding is one of his outlets of creative expression.

Artwork by: Kyler Garrison

Firstly, it seems fitting for you to be on the roster of the incredible HOPPS. Is it inspiring to have not only such great team mates in terms of skating, but also inspiring artists? Does Jahmal Williams in particular motivate and inspire your craft?

Thank you! It is amazing to be a part of something that I feel is truly authentic. Everything that Jahmal creates and curates is constantly inspiring, inside and outside of skateboarding. There is a lot of creative freedom for everyone involved to express ourselves how we want, which motivates a creative approach for everybody; from Steve Brandi’s photographs to Jahmal’s paintings and sculptures. I feel lucky to be surrounded by like-minded people.


What are the best and worst things about Denver?

The city itself is still relatively small, as well as the skate scene, so it’s easy to feel bored or stagnant at times. The tight-knit community can create a lot of motivation for people to push one another to keep things fun and progressive, although I think that can manifest itself in a competitive way between cliques. I obviously think my friends and family are the best thing in Denver, but I do miss the mountains and green chile. I’d say the worst thing is the recurring feeling of stagnancy, as well as the legal weed culture (or lack thereof).


Do you feel that attending an online high school helped, hindered or affected fuck all in terms to your creative approach?

I’m aware that it’s not for everyone; the social and learning environment is drastically different, but because my friends and interests were outside ofthe school environment, I found it to be surprisingly efficient and motivating to finish school online. The art program was very small. There was only one teacher, but she was amazing and pushed me to make the art that I wanted to make with a very flexible curricular format. These ended up being my first paintings, which were objectively poorly done, but it ultimately sparked a very personal creative approach.

Artwork by: Kyler Garrison

Gallery Photography by: Sam Hutchinson

It seems from your reading your Theories of Atlantis interview that you’ve got a good mentality between doing your own shit and letting others do theirs. How opinionated are you and does it have to be of something of importance to make you call something out?

The search for identity and individuality is constant and can be difficult, so I try to have an open mind when being introduced to new things, even if I find it odd or unfamiliar. Do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting anybody.


You’re into videography as well, could youname some inspirations inside and outside of skateboarding please? What kind of films do you like? Are you an arthouse wanker?

I haven’t worked with video in some time, but it was something that I had a lot of fun doing. I really enjoy and respect the long-term process of producing a video, whether it’s a skate video or not. I’m surrounded by so many amazing videographers in New York, and my biggest inspirations in the craft are my long-time friend and roommate Colton Abernathy, and Chase Walker who I’ve become close with since moving to the city. I feel they are constantly pushing the boundaries, focusing less on the traditional formula of the craft and focusing more on making exactly what they want to make.

Kyler Garrison – Crooked Grind ~ Photo: Cole Giordano

You had some work exhibited at SCREW Gallery, how did this come about?

It actually all came about because of the lovely Luke Pickering. My friends and I had planned on visiting the UK on vacation, and I had let Luke know on Instagram, where we had previously had a few brief conversations about music and skateboarding and whatnot. He pitched the idea of doing an exhibition to make the most of our trip, which all sounded great. Withhim working at Village, and collaborating so closely with SCREW Gallery before, everybody got involved and it all came together as an amazing experience showing my work for the first time. I think that SCREW Gallery is truly doing something special, the artist-run environment in Leeds creates such a unique space. I was humbled that they had been so helpful in bringing that exhibition to life.


Was coming to England everything you imagined and more? How was your trip here and what were some highlights/something that tripped you out? Absolutely!

It was my first time outside of the US, as well as my first time showing work, so our visit presented numerous amazing first experiences for all of us. We felt an immediate familiarity with the friend group we met, there are countless amazing people who are making such cool shit in the scene, and everybody was so welcoming.

Kyler Garrison – Frontside Wallride Revert ~ Photo: Reece Leung

What’s the least creative thing you do?

Driving. I drive too much instead of taking the MTA. Focusing on the destination and not experiencing the journey definitely doesn’t help a creative approach.


How did your use of lighters in artwork come about? Do you like the unpredictability of the flame?

Using a lighter or flame to make marks is something that I’ve only incorporated into paintings once or twice, but I really want to experiment with it and see how far I can take it. The unpredictability makes it slightly intimidating, but that unpredictability of material is something that I want to embrace more in my works. The technique is actually a form of graffiti, you can use a lighter to write your name on ceilings that have collected dust, such as bathroom ceilings or inside the hallway of the train station.

Artwork by: Kyler Garrison

Gallery Photography by: Sam Hutchinson

It seems you experiment in different mediums and different scales, do you require this variety to get a good balance of outputs?

I really just enjoy trying new things and taking risks in my work, whether it be changing techniques and scales in painting, skateboarding, or playing with sound and music production. I think it comes from less of a place of desire for more output, but from a desire to indulge in as many mediums or forms of expression that I can. A lot of things are difficult to express in some ways, but not in others. I find it comforting to communicate through different mediums.


Are there any mediums you’d like to explore/cross over?

I eventually want to step away from using the airbrush as much as I do. I find the most rhythm and familiarity in airbrushing, but I’m trying to return to more traditional painting techniques. I also want to explore more with making sculpture work, which has always been a difficult approach for me.


Artwork by: Kyler Garrison

It doesn’t have to be your favourite, but could you please tell us some sounds you are fond of (not necessarily songs, more stand alone noises)?

I listen to ambient music more than anything; someof which could be more or less described as sounds and not a song with a distinct melody and rhythm. Otherwise, I love hearing sounds that cater to creating a full environment of the desolate outdoors; the constant crashing of water at a waterfall, or the sound of leaves from hundreds of trees rustling through the wind.


I know it must vary from piece to piece but I’d love to know your approach to making work – is it 100% planned out from the beginning, or do you let certain aspects dictate the outcome as you’re doing it? For example the paintings with physical additions within, do you decide that they’re going to be in there from the start?

My work always feels like an odd balance betweenthe two; a lot of the imagery and composition is pre- planned, but the paintings always go in a different direction than I originally intended them to take. When approaching a new painting, I try to refine the message or feeling I want to articulate before actually making any marks or laying any paint, which obviously varies quite a bit from piece to piece. The realistic imagery is always painted first, mostly using references, and then I decide what layers I need to add on top of this to further abstract the piece and fully communicate what I want to.

Kyler Garrison – Drain Cover-Assisted Tailbash ~ Photo: Reece Leung

The titles and words in your work seem very on point and considered, giving a whole new perspective on the piece. What are your literary inspirations and how important do you feel a title to work or an exhibition is?

A lot of the literary inspiration comes from the music that reflects how I’m feeling at the time of making a painting. Communicating can be hard through words, so it’s often easier to translate a feeling directly from a song that resonates into painting form, which influences the type and titles. A good title doesn’t necessarily make or break a work of art, but I think it is important to allow a better understanding ofit. However, fabricating a narrative of some deeper meaning isn’t the point – sometimes all a title needs to do is highlight the absurdity or the familiarity of the work.


We love the cover you did for this issue, could you talk through your choices for this?

I loved the difference in stylistic elements of the wrought iron gates in the UK compared to the ones in the US. Half of the photos in my camera roll from our visit are images of different gates and fences to use as reference. I wanted to incorporate this into the cover image, mixed with the raw blur of the airbrush strokes.

Artwork by: Kyler Garrison

You and your crew are also super productive in terms of your video output. Are you working on anything at the moment and do you feel that a combined effort and organic approach reflects your approach to skating and art as well?

Yes, definitely. I wouldn’t be doing anything special without the support and motivation from those close to me. I’m very thankful to be continually working on meaningful projects with my friends near and far.


Could you please be so kind as to give us a medley of recommendations?

Malibu’s United in Flames NTS show, 454, Goreshit’s ‘Semantic Compositions on Death and Its Meaning,’ Hashbrown egg and cheese, Emmett Batley, Colton Abernathy, Edith Pike, Studio Ghibli, Zak Anders ‘COW BOY’ by Chase Walker, Late Nite Stars, Pointer’s Goold Publishing House.

Get hold a physical version of Kyler’s interview in Issue 28 here and shop Kyler’s Vague Merch (pictured below) here! See the footage of some of his interview photos in his Hopps –  Kyler & friends part.