50 States – Wyoming with Tim Tomkinson
Tim Tomkinson – “Wyoming-centric imagery would often find its way into my work”
This week Creative Chair is in Jackon Hole, Wyoming, where we’re talking with illustrator/designer Tim Tomkinson for the 40th edition of our 50 States series.
Throughout this journey, we’ve spoken to people from 39 other states. In each case, the state’s creative influence has taken many different forms but none (so far) have been so deeply ingrained as in the case of today interview.
You can see a lot more from Tim Tomkinson on his website.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do
My name is Tim Tomkinson and I’m an illustrator and graphic designer based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I’ve been working professionally since I graduated from Parson’s School of Design in 2002, juggling time between freelance gigs at ad agencies around New York and whatever illustration assignments I could get.
By 2010 my illustration jobs were coming in rapidly enough that I was able to pick and choose my favorites and, more importantly, do them from anywhere. No longer feeling tethered to New York—though I still have a deep affection for it—my wife and I decided to move to Jackson Hole where I had already lived through most of my formative teen years. And now we have 2 awesome little Wyoming-born boys!
How has your state influenced the work that you do?
Wyoming, and Jackson Hole in particular, is quite a unique and inspiring place to live. Not that New York wasn’t, but there are hundreds of thousands of artists that have been inspired and influenced by that city. My work certainly was for the good part of a decade.
But even when I was starting out as an illustrator in the city, Wyoming-centric imagery would often find its way into my work: elk, bears, eagles, fish, hummingbirds, bugs, as well as increasing amounts of trees, mountains, wildflowers and dramatic skies. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my previous life in Wyoming had made its mark in my soul and was seeping into my work.
Once I moved back it finally became clear to me what was happening, and I just embraced it. Now I’d say at least 3/4 of my illustrations contain some sort of flora or fauna inspired by my life in and around Jackson Hole. Even my conceptual editorial pieces often have animals depicted in them.
Of your own work, what is your favourite project and why?
This is a tough one, as I’ve been lucky enough to have worked on several career favorites already. But if I had to pick just one it would probably be the snowboards I created for Wyoming Tourism in 2014. I got to collaborate with world-renowned professional snowboarder and Jackson Hole native, Travis Rice, on three snowboard graphics that were applied to a very limited edition of 20 boards each.
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Thankfully I got one of each three boards as part of my payment, after the rest were given out in sweepstakes, PR events, and an auction. These three board graphics also happen to illustrate quite definitively how I get inspired by the state that I call home :)
And finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song, what would that song be?
Uh oh.. another insanely hard one! There are so many that I would want to be, but let’s go with “Else”, by Built to Spill.
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