38 – Following Your Curiosity with Tyler Thrasher

In this week’s episode, Laura and Nikki interview artist, illustrator, musician, self-proclaimed mad scientist and D&D geek, Tyler Thrasher.

Tyler has an undying love for nature and its respective curiosities, and there are few things Tyler’s brain isn’t obsessing over. Between his pursuits to crystallize the world, opalize everything and hunt down some of the most unique plants, his passion to combine art and science every step of the way is his fire and fuel. He applies his brand of hopeful, angry optimism to everything he does.

As you’ll hear during this interview, Tyler has the ability to take his curiosities and quickly turn them into amazing products… from crystalized cicadas to plant-growing journals, custom art t-shirts and even plushies! He sees what’s missing in the marketplace, courageously takes action, and puts his work out in the world for all of us to enjoy.

We know you’ll love our conversation with him and be inspired to see where your own curiosities will lead you!

P.S. If listening with young children, please be aware we use some colorful language in this episode. 😉

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE ON:

Topics discussed

  • Tyler’s Startist story
  • How he began combining his interest in art and science and developed his unique crystallized insects
  • What happened to Tyler’s Instagram after requesting an art trade with an illustrator he loves
  • Being spontaneous vs. planning things out
  • Using Kickstarter and pre-sales to fund products
  • Working with DFTBA for fulfillment, shipping and creating new products
  • Making, selling and shipping t-shirts to raise money for The Bail Project and other black causes
  • What Tyler’s online community did when his house burned down
  • How people react on social media when you focus on one thing vs following many different passions
  • The process of designing his cicada plushie and the ridiculous number he sold in one week!
  • Asking for what you want to grow your career
  • Getting real about his anxiety and insecurity and how he doesn’t let that stop him from following through with his ideas… which led to his existential discussion with his cicada!
  • Tyler shares a few product ideas he’s working on, including a whole bunch of plushies, his plans for a bigger lab and conservatory in partnership with a nanotech scientist in Tulsa.
  • And caves, Tyler loves caves!
  • Tyler shares his obsession with sour candy and Nikki gives him a brilliant idea for a new product!
  • And finally, Tyler shares his best advice for people who are just getting started.

Laura

0:04
Hi, this is Laura Lee Griffin.

Nikki

0:06
And this is Nikki May with the Startist Society, inspiring you to stop getting in your own way and start building an art biz and life that you love.

Laura

0:15
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you stuck.

Nikki

0:30
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours.

Laura

0:36
So, who are we talking to today?

Nikki

0:39
Well, we’ve been talking a lot lately about following your intuition and listening to your intuitive voice. And today we’re interviewing the king of following his inspiration or obsessions. And yes, you heard me right, I said king. Today we’re interviewing our first man on the Startist Society podcast. I’m thrilled to introduce you to artist, illustrator, musician, self-proclaimed mad scientist and Dungeons and Dragons geek, Tyler Thrasher.

Laura

1:10
Tyler has an undying love for nature and its respective curiosities, and there are a few things Tyler’s brain isn’t obsessing over. Between his pursuits to crystallize the world, opalized everything and hunt down some of the most unique plants, his passion to combine art and science every step of the way is his fire and fuel. He applies this brand of hopeful, angry optimism to everything he does, and we can’t wait to dig in and learn more. Tyler, welcome to the Startist Society.

Tyler

1:41
Hi, yay. Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited to be here.

Nikki

1:49
Thanks so much for being here. So Tyler, I did some digging in the depths of my computer and my inbox and Google. And I figured out that I probably first learned about you and your amazing cicadas through the Beautiful Bizarre website back in like early 2016. Which led me to your Instagram and I bought my first of your crystallized cicadas way back in May of 2016.

Tyler

2:16
Holy crap.

Nikki

2:17
I know, right. I’d love to go back to that time and even before and hear about how you got started in your creative career. We always like to start our interviews with your Startist story.

Tyler

2:31
Yeah, I mean, first off, I gotta say mad props. You have, like one of the OG cicadas. That awesome.

Nikki

2:39
I know! It’s amethyst, and I think it’s a batwing cicada.

Tyler

2:45
Um, yeah, wow. Damn, cool.

Nikki

2:46
Yeah, way back when…

Tyler

2:49
Well, yeah, I mean, where do I start? Um, I would argue I’ve been creative my whole life. I’ve always had some pursuit toward the natural world, toward curiosity, or at least a healthy practice of diving into my curiosity. You know, I mean, I could start from the very beginning, or I could start where I began crystallizing insects, which is what propelled my creative career…

Nikki

3:17
Maybe somewhere between the two.

Tyler

3:18
Between the two. Okay, all right, let’s take it back. So I would say that I didn’t begin taking art seriously until high school. I was fortunate enough to have an art teacher in high school, one of those rare teachers that recognizes talent… I don’t wanna say I have talent, but I got to give props to her ability to be very attentive toward her students. She saw me sketching in a hallway. I wasn’t even taking art classes. I was just sketching. That’s sort of a coping mechanism for me, and she stopped me and she said, I don’t care what you’re signing up for next year, my class is included. I was like, what? And she was like, I’m signing you up. I was like, Oh, okay. Never, I’d never been taken seriously, art-wise. I’d never taken art seriously or considered it as an option. And so it was really reassuring to have this stranger stop me and say, what you’re doing is awesome, I recognize that and I’m going to do my little part to pave that way for you. It was awesome, it was one of the first times in my life I’d experienced that. So I signed up for the class, and I fell in love. I was in an environment where the things I love to do were noticed by others. And there was an adult who was helping curate that and helping me understand what it was I was doing. That was such a new and exciting feeling and next thing I knew… it made me say, I don’t give a shit where the rest of my life goes, art needs to be in it. It was so powerful to have an adult do that for me that I decided, this is it, man, this is everything.

Nikki

5:02
That’s fantastic.

Tyler

5:04
Yeah. And after that, I graduated high school and I said, I’m going to go, you know, I’m gonna go to college for art, and I’m going to be an artist. And that’s exactly what happened next.

Nikki

5:17
Awesome. So what did you study in college?

Tyler

5:20
Computer animation and Japanese.

Nikki

5:24
Interesting.

Laura

5:25
Oh wow.

Tyler

5:26
I, man, I was that kid in high school. I watched all the anime, I stayed up till three in the morning watching Adult Swim. Watching Cowboy Bebop and Full Metal Alchemist, all of it. I was like, man, I want to do this. I want to do this. I studied Japanese in high school for four years. I lived in Japan for a summer. I was, yeah, I was damn near fluent. And then I went to college. And I was like, I don’t know if I want to do this, I don’t know if I want to go to Japan. So I let the Japanese fall back and…

Nikki

5:57
Wait didn’t you live in Japan for a little bit, Laura?

Laura

6:00
I worked in Japan for a little bit, but I also worked at an animation studio.

Tyler

6:05
Oh, okay.

Laura

6:05
Yeah Tyler, but I was not an artist. I was the account was like, way less cool.

Tyler

6:11
Yeah, I lived in it’s Utsunomiya and Tokyo. Utsunomiya is the sister city to Tulsa. And so it was my first time leaving the country. And I was like 18 and it was just, you know, that added on to like, Oh, my God, the world outside of my immediate life is so much more exciting than I was ever told. So I went to college. Again, you know, that was one of my first times leaving home and I was like, Oh my god, I’m out here on my own. What do I want to do with my life? I never really had anyone sort of like suggest anything to me or offer me options. I was never really taken seriously as a kid. And so I said, screw it, I’m gonna do everything myself. And so in college, I signed up for my own art galleries, my own art shows. I pulled stuff together at coffee shops. I just did everything on my own. And a lot of that was curated and enforced by a really great art teacher, Jennifer Brown in high school who encouraged that in me. And so I studied animation. And then I got right up to graduating. I was like, three weeks from graduating, and I said, I don’t want to fucking do this. I don’t want to be an animator. Not at all. I, our school made the mistake of having a professional animator come speak to us. And I asked hard questions. I asked him, I said, when’s the last time you worked on your own project? It was like, oh, about 10 years ago, and I said, that sucks.

Nikki

7:41
I’m out!

Tyler

7:44
I said, I said, What’s your home life like? Because I know animators work like 70 hours a week. I was like what’s your home life like? He’s like, Oh, you know, we split up. And I’m like, Okay, so the animator’s widow term is like a real thing. And I thought, Jesus, this guy looks so depressed. And that was when I realized, I can’t live my life like… I can’t give up my art career making stories for someone else while hating my own life the whole time. Not gonna happen. So…

Nikki

8:13
Amen.

Tyler

8:13
I did finish the degree though.

Nikki

8:16
Then what did you do?

Tyler

8:17
Well, I said, I’m gonna finish the degree. I’m three weeks out, I got to. But I decided I wanted to be a self-employed artist. I was like, I don’t care what it is, I’ll make my own stories, I’ll keep selling art in coffee shops. I don’t care, as long as I’m not dying working on someone else’s ideas. I told my my professors this, half of them are like, you’re an idiot, it’s not gonna work. This doesn’t work. There’s a reason why there aren’t many self-employed artists. And I was like, Okay, I’m the kind of guy where if I’m told I can’t do something or something’s not possible, I double down.

Laura

8:54
Yeah, you’re gonna prove em wrong.

Tyler

8:55
Yeah, and so that’s what I did. And the first thing I did was I said, You know what, I’m going to go in a cave. I spent most of my college career caving and I said… when I got really depressed or down, I would go find the cave to crawl through. And I would see all these crystals and minerals and they started to fill my dreams, I started to draw minerals instead of animating. I would see all these insects while I was hiking, so I’d draw these very anatomical illustrations of insects. Then I started dreaming insects and crystals. And then I started combining them. I started drawing crystals on insects, and I have a chemistry background. So my brain was like, wait, you know how to grow crystals. I was like, Yes, I do. What if you actually made crystallized insects and I thought, Oh, shit, what? And I googled it. I googled crystallized insects, there was nothing. And I thought, well, I don’t even know what this would look like in real life.

Nikki

9:56
So how long ago was this?

Tyler

9:59
This was about three weeks before I graduated, so, 2015. Yeah, like May 25.

Nikki

10:08
Wow, okay, so a year I bought my first cicada from you.

Tyler

10:12
Yes. Yeah. So I, I didn’t know what it would look like, I couldn’t imagine it. So I went outside, I got some insect bodies. And then it was cicada season. So I got some cicada shells. And I submerge them in a crystalline solution of copper sulfate, checked on it a week later, and they were crystals growing out of a cicada shell. I am not kidding you when I say I screamed.

Nikki

10:37
I would have screamed too!

Tyler

10:40
I mean..

Laura

10:42
Serious happy dance.

Tyler

10:43
Yeah, it opened up my freaking brain. Like, when you when you’re making art, you’re very aware of every step. You do the sketches, you do the meticulous drawing, the line work, you know what you’re getting, for the most part, unless you get in that, you know, the artist in transmit where you’re, you’re not even aware of what you’re doing, those rare occasions, but…I was making art where I did not know what the end result was. And I loved it. I loved it. Every single time was a surprise. And I was making something I couldn’t Google. I was like, This is cool. And I was showing my teachers this and they’re like, What the hell are you doing? They were like, you should animate this. I said, No, I made it. I’m not gonna animate it, I made it. And I had a very different view than some of my professors. And…

Nikki

11:34
Not that it wouldn’t be really cool animated, too…

Tyler

11:38
Oh, it probably would be. Yeah. But one of my favorite artists who, she got me through all college, J.A.W. Cooper, I wanted one of her sketches. So I reached out, I said, hey, you’re really famous, you’re probably not gonna read this. But you do a lot of cicada drawings and I grow crystals on cicadas. And I would love to trade one of these to you for a sketch. I was like, I don’t think you’ll read this. But I’m just shooting my shot. You’re a huge inspiration. And Cooper replied, she freaking replied. I was like, Oh, my God, oh, my God. And Cooper was like, yeah, we’ll trade. Let’s trade. And I freaked out. So I sent Cooper a box of crystallized cicadas, Cooper shared them on Instagram. And the next morning, I woke up and I had thousands of followers. My page was blowing up, people were asking to buy them. And I was like, I was never expecting to sell these. I was just making these to get me through. And my wife, fiance at the time, Molly was like, you could sell these and make a living. And I was like, No, I can’t. Because artists don’t do that. Because that’s what I was told. And yeah, I took pre orders. And it’s been my full time job ever since.

Nikki

12:56
I know, when I first discovered you and I wanted one, I had to wait because they were always sold out. And I was like, when are they going to be available? Jump on it!

Laura

13:05
Man the cicadas are some beautiful eye-candy. I know they were just the start for you, Tyler and you’ve now grown your business to incorporate a lot of other passions that you have. And I know a lot of artists think that you have to be very strategic, you know, very organized and sort of plan everything out perfectly in advance in order to be successful. But I think the growth in your own career hasn’t necessarily looked exactly like that, right? So I’m really curious to hear more about the path that led from the cicadas on to some of your other products.

Nikki

13:39
Well, it’s great that you started with the cicadas and that’s kind of become your bread and butter. Because you know, it’s cicadas and I know that you’ve moved on to like scorpions and skulls and all kinds of things. And by the way, I make art on skulls and things too.

Tyler

13:57
Ooh nice.

Nikki

13:58
So how did you go from the cicadas… I guess the cicadas being your bread and butter sort of thing, kind of freed you up to explore some other things, knowing that that was going to pay the bills. So how did you go to all the other things that you’re doing too?

Tyler

14:15
Yeah. So I want to start back about like, you know, everyone, like planning things out.

Nikki

14:22
Yeah, please.

Tyler

14:24
You know, for me, there are no rules. There are none. There are people who who just have the craziest ideas, and they’re spontaneous and they work really well. There are people who are organized and it works really well. You just kind of have to play to your strengths. I’m the kind of person where I have an idea and I have to do it right then and there while I have the fuel or it’s gone. I’ve known this about myself since I was a child. I’m a very sporadic, spontaneous person to be around at times. That’s kind of mellowed out since having a kid as things like tend to do

Laura

14:57
You have a little more routine in your life.

Tyler

14:58
Yes, a little. But I still love the spontaneity and so that did fuel all these other ideas I had. I never sought out…when I was making crystallized cicadas, I never thought it would be my bread and butter. I never thought I could pay off my student loans from art school with crystallized goddamn cicadas.

Nikki

15:18
How amazing is that?

Tyler

15:20
It’s awesome! It’s the weirdest sentence. Like the most specific thing someone could say is I paid off my student loans with crystal covered bugs.

Nikki

15:31
I raise my cicada tattoo to you.

Tyler

15:33
Yeah, right on! But yeah, it’s awesome. And people started buying those. And then I started thinking like, oh, man, I should share my other stuff. So I’d share illustrations, and people would be like, Oh, you can draw? And I was like, well I was drawing before this. And then I would share some like electronic music. People are like, Oh, you can make electronic music? And I was, I was doing that before the cicadas, and then I would share my plants. And people would be like, Oh, my God, you can grow plants? I’ve been around plants my whole life. So it was so funny seeing people respond to the different things I’m into and what ended up happening is people supporting me through my crystallizer cicadas gave me the energy and time to hone in on things like my illustrations, music, plants. You know, a lot of the cave exploration I’ve been doing, like any and all my curiosities now have room and time to grow. And there are people that support them and respond to them positively. So that also really helped. And I just, over time, started sharing the tiny things I was into, and ended up making this big picture where everyone’s like, Oh, my God, you’re into so many things. It’s like, well I’ve been here for 28 years, I’ve gathered a few things along the way. These are the things I love about planet Earth. And I’ve just been sharing those ever since.

Nikki

16:59
That’s fantastic. So the cicadas, they’re going strong, and you start sharing all the other things you do. Talk to us about how you’ve turned some of these other ideas of yours into projects that… you started with experimenting and growing these things. And I’d love to hear more about how your books came about, your t-shirts, your your plush cicada which is amazing and how these all came about, and the different unique ways that you’ve brought all of these products to life.

Tyler

17:39
Yeah. So most of the ideas I have usually come from this vacuum, where I’m looking around, I’m thinking, Oh, this would be cool. And if I don’t see it, if I see nothing like it, then I think that the best next thing to do in the universe, is to do that thing. It worked with me with the cicadas and worked with me with almost everything I’ve ever pursued. And so, you know, if we start back, like, I came up with the idea for my Grow a Damn Plant Journal, because I was hybridizing a lot of plants, I was spending a lot of time in my greenhouse. And I needed to take notes, when you’re making cultivars or making new plants, you need to do a lot of diligent note taking. And I’ll take notes on like, you know, pieces of paper, those pieces of paper would get wet in the greenhouse, or I would, I would lose them, and then I would write them down in a, you know, composition notebook. And I’m like, This isn’t good enough. I need like, if I’m gonna get really nerdy, I need a pokedex for my plants is what it felt like. And so I was like, no one’s designed this, like a database for plants, your plants. And I thought I need this. I bet other people need this. So I started talking about it on my podcast and talking about this plant journal I wanted to make, and people would email in and be like, can you please make that and I’m like, really? Once enough people tell you like once 1000 people tell you, we will buy that if you make it, you would be an idiot if you do not make it

Nikki

19:17
Yeah seriously.

Tyler

19:19
So I made it. We in so far, we’ve sold around 9000 copies. And…

Nikki

19:25
Wait wait wait. Let’s say that number again.

Tyler

19:28
We’ve, yeah, I think we’ve hit about 9000 copies.

Nikki

19:31
That’s amazing.

Laura

19:32
That’s amazing that when you made this, did you do pre orders for this, like through a Kickstarter campaign? Or how did how did you know, because when you start out, you don’t know you’re gonna sell 9000 of them, right?

Tyler

19:44
Yeah, so I wasn’t confident. And this happens to me all the time. I wasn’t confident I would sell a whole lot of them. So I did the Kickstarter, and I set my goal at like, I have to, I have to purchase 1000 of this book to get it down to the price that I can afford. And I was like, so my goal is I gotta just sell 1000. And I was like, I’ll do a Kickstarter, people like to donate more than they’ll buy the product for, people just like to donate to a Kickstarter. So I thought I could get the funds to afford 1000 book order. And we ended up selling 2500 in the Kickstarter. During the pandemic.

Nikki

20:22
Wow.

Tyler

20:23
You know, there was a point where I was emailing everyone and I was like, Guys, the pandemic’s happening. Everyone’s talking about losing their jobs. Should I cancel the Kickstarter? Like, I don’t want people to be in the midst of the pandemic and go, Oh, shit, I got charged $35 and I don’t have a job. So I tackled with that and most people were like, do not cancel this, this is gonna get me through the pandemic. Please keep this going.

Nikki

20:46
So yeah, cuz people had more time to garden than ever, right?

Tyler

20:50
And it played out in my favor, like, everyone got into plants, and everyone bought a copy of my journal. And then I would sell out so I place another order, then I would sell out of those. I’d place another order and it just kept going and it’s just kind of become, that’s also become like a staple, the Grow A Damn Plant Journal.

Laura

21:11
So Tyler, do you have like a warehouse with tons of books in it?

Tyler

21:16
I don’t have my own personal warehouse. Prior to a shift I had just recently made. I was… luckily the store where my lab is in… I share my lab with a stem cell science shop in Tulsa. And we closed for health and safety reasons. And we just turned the entire building into an online packing facility. We were all doing online orders and stuff. So I was storing thousands of books. It was like a box castle, like it was towers of just boxes of books. But DFTBA reached out to me. And Hank Green and his team they’re like, Hey, man, you look stressed like low key. And we love your stuff, and you know, that whole team, they were like, We all love your stuff. We want you to use our services. So now they do all my fulfillment and shipping, which has given me all the time in the world to be back with my family and explore new new idea.

Nikki

22:16
That’s awesome. I know shipping can be such a hassle.

Tyler

22:20
It’s horrible.

Nikki

22:21
And I’ve never I’ve never done anything near that kind of quantity of anything.

Laura

22:27
I mean, those were the books and then did the t-shirts come before or after the books.

Tyler

22:31
Oh, Lord. Oh man, the t-shirts. So I’ve been doing t shirts since I shared my illustrations after the crystallized stuff. People would say put that on a shirt. And I was like, I can have shirts? So, I had done shirts, and I would get you know, 50 to 60 orders. And then sadly after the George Floyd murder, you know, me like everyone else, most people… we were livid, we were hurt, we were scared…just so fucking angry. And, you know, I’m, I’m a person of color. I saw this shit all the time. So many people are like, I can’t believe they kneeled on his neck. And I’m like, dude, I’m seeing a video like that once a week from me and my black friends and fellow black artists like, but we are all collectively outraged. So I said, fuck it. I’m gonna make a shirt and raise money for all these protesters that were getting arrested, you know? So I took my Raise Some Heck shirt, which I’ve had for a while, I put it on black with a bright coral poppy flower. Right? Sorry, bright coral letters. And it says Raise Some Heck and I said I’m gonna donate the proceeds to help with The Bail Project and a bunch of other black causes. I thought maybe we could sell, maybe I could donate five grand. That would be an awesome goal. If we could raise $5,000, man, I at least feel like I did my part during the pandemic. We ended up raising $75,000 in three days.

Nikki

24:07
$75,000 in three days?

LAURA

24:09
That is amazing.

Nikki

24:10
How many t-shirts was that?

Tyler

24:12
Oh my God, Jesus Effing Christ. It was 10,000 shirts.

Nikki

24:16
Wow.

Laura

24:19
Did you ship those personally at that point?

Tyler

24:21
Yes. Yes.

Nikki

24:21
Oh my god.

Laura

24:23
Yes, I imagine.

Tyler

24:24
So, I almost lost my mind last year, if I’m being entirely honest. We had the pandemic. I had my personal life that was crumbling.

Nikki

24:34
And a new baby. Newish baby.

Tyler

24:38
New baby. We had a toddler. We were in lockdown. There’s no books on parenting during a pandemic. And I raised 75 grand, you know, we donated it to The Bail Project.

Nikki

24:49
That’s amazing.

Tyler

24:51
Yeah, we donate it toward mental health for black women, we ended up paying for the entire GoFundMe for a group of black artists in Tulsa to get their gallery. We ended up donating, I’ve ended up like supporting a bunch of families and buying their groceries for months during the pandemic, like, I was doing the thing. Like I was like, man, I am killing it. I’m doing what I feel like I’ve always wanted to do, which is to use my art for good. And then I had to ship 10,000 shirts. There is…

Nikki

25:22
There is a downside to all that good.

Tyler

25:24
Let me tell you, it’s less of a downside and more like driving off of a fucking cliff. Like there’s nothing more existential than shipping 10,000 of anything, also not to mention you have to fold.

Nikki

25:40
Oh my god, I cannot fold a shirt well enough.

Tyler

25:44
10,000… folding 10,000 shirts.

Nikki

25:46
So what did you do? Did you get people to help? Did you hire people?

Tyler

25:51
Yep. I had an assistant, still do. I hired like a team of six people. We worked every day. Like I was there every day. And everyone was taking shifts for about a month and a half straight. It was it was a lot. But it felt you know, I was like this. I’m young. I have the energy and I’m fucking angry. I want to burn down the buildings. I’m livid. I’m hurt. I was like, this is a more productive use of my energy.

Nikki

26:21
Absolutely. And it’s amazing. It’s also it’s amazing that you’re in a position to do that, because that wasn’t that long after you had to do a project to raise money because your house burned down.

Tyler

26:38
Yep, so in 2016 we had a house fire. And we were in this house for maybe three months. And I’m gonna just take a quick step to tell everyone listening, get get the get get a good electrician when you’re getting a house. Pay for the goddamn inspection. Like the whole thing, right? We got this house, and we didn’t get a good electrician. They didn’t check everything. And one of the rooms that was added on had faulty wiring. They used to insulate houses with newspaper. You think of a worse like…

Nikki

27:11
Yeah, I mean, how dumb is that.

Tyler

27:14
So we stepped out of the house for maybe two hours. And we came back and there were 12 fire trucks up the street. And it was, our house was just like obsidian tower of smoke and ash. I lost my pet. We lost everything. Like literally everything. It was a very surreal night. Like you’re in so much shock that you can’t respond the way you want to. Most people think that they’re going to like scream, roll in the grass, shout to the heavens. I was just like, Oh, wow. Like I remember saying, Oh, this is kind of pretty. Like I was just so I was in shock. I just didn’t know what to do. And then the firefighters hand me my, the smoldering remains of my pet and I’m like, Oh, this is happening. And the first thing I had to do was like, I just looked at Molly. I was like give me the fucking shovel. She was like, what? And I’m like just give me the shovel and I dug our pets grave. And I buried it and I look back at the house. I said okay, what’s next and the firefighters said it’s all gone. I’m like, okay, there’s nothing. But the project that came after that. This kind of started what I think is my current narrative where I post it on Instagram. I said, Oh my god, guys, our house is gone.

Nikki

28:36
I remember that.

Tyler

28:37
Yeah, I was like, I know we have crystallized cicada orders, guys. I’m not gonna be able to get… I said, I’m not gonna be able to get to those. There’s gonna be a little bit of a delay. Please be understanding and everyone was like, your house just burned down. And next thing I knew they people started a GoFundMe for us. And we raised $18,000 Molly and I had to stop the GoFundMe. I was like, Guys, our needs are met. Like, I was crying. I was speechless that strangers would donate $18,000 to help us, that would come together. Yeah. And the next morning I woke up after the fire and I were making a list of everything we lost, including artwork for my first ever book. I was working on an art book, The Wisdom of the Furnace. And I had this title before any of this happened.

Nikki

28:40
Oh really? I remember the title and I thought it came out of the fire!

Tyler

29:41
No, so funny enough, I thought of this name, the wisdom of the furnace as an homage to the old alchemists that would live out in the woods by their furnace, and all the old alchemists that would die or, you know, get completely eviscerated working on crazy experiments. I thought I’m gonna make a book for those people. And the next morning after the fire, I looked at Molly and I said, ah fuck, I lost everything for The Wisdom of the Furnace. And there’s something in the universe that was like, it just hit me, like it just blasted me. And I thought, No, no, no, no, I can’t write a book about the catalyst of fire of change, of growth of, you know, of chemistry of alchemy without having first experienced the entropy of it myself. And after that, I went straight back to the house, into the smoldering remains. I took some of the pieces that survived and I photographed them. And I thought, I’m going to redo this book, I’m still going to do this book. And I’m going to have it done by the original deadline. And I redid the entire book from scratch with no home to call my own, with nothing except the clothes I had gotten that like Gap that next day from the GoFundMe. And I did The Wisdom of the Furnace and I did it right. And I did it the way that the universe supposedly wanted me to do it.

Nikki

31:10
…decided that was your way.

Tyler

31:12
Yep, and yeah, we sold 3000 copies. I only did it that once. I could probably relist it, but you know, it was a very exciting, very devastating chapter in my life.

Nikki

31:27
Yeah. And so that was your first book.

Tyler

31:31
Yes.

Nikki

31:31
And how did you print that one? Did you do pre-sales on that?

Tyler

31:36
I did Kickstarter. It was funded in the first day. And that was one of my first experiences of how my artwork can blow up. Like, I did the Kickstarter, I thought, I hope we make it. It was funded in the first six hours, and I just was like, Oh, my God.

Nikki

31:52
Well, I imagine that a lot of the people that contributed to that GoFundMe, probably also backed the Kickstarter.

Tyler

32:01
Yeah. Yeah, it was. Yeah, man. Still thinking about it, it’s like I could cry. It was a very energetic time of my life.

Laura

32:11
And when did you start your social media following? Were those a lot of the people that were purchasing your book?

Tyler

32:17
Yes, at that time. You know, I, I’d been doing the crystallized stuff for maybe about a year and a half. I had gotten into the rhythms of realizing this could really be my like, I might not have to clock in at a grocery store ever again. And I had a decent following. And it was a very supportive following, and they just kept growing with every new idea I’d share. You know, I would share my Grow a Damn Plant Journal. And all these plant people were like, Who’s this crazy guy with the cool plant journal? And then those plant people would be like you do you grow crystals on bugs? It just keeps happening. I’ll attract a new audience. And they’ll be like, wait, you do D&D? You grow plants? And I’m like, what brought you here? And they’ll tell me what brought them to my page. And then they learn about all this other crazy shit I’m into.

Laura

33:08
But I love that because so many people think they have to focus on one thing to grow a social following, right? Like, I’m going to be the person who just does crystals on dead bugs. And that’s all I’m gonna be doing. Right? But you’re following so many different passions and openly sharing those with everyone and they love it. Right?

Tyler

33:27
Yeah, and it’s tricky, because, you know, the algorithm, all that bullshit…

Nikki

33:32
Oh, fuck the algorithm.

Tyler

33:35
The algorithm is fucking me, dude the algorithm, it wants you to focus, it wants you to do that. Do one thing and be the crystal bug guy or the you know, the gardening naked person, like it wants you to be the one, almost like an avatar. And those people blow up. And I’ve noticed since I started diversifying what I share, my stuff has had less reach, but I don’t care because I don’t want someone to look at me and go, Oh, you’re the macabre crystal bug dead vulture culture guy? And I’m like, I’m not really that at all.

Nikki

34:16
Yeah. Well, and I love this, because everything we hear these days and everybody we talk to is like, narrow down, niche down, find your one thing and narrow down your ideal client or customer avatar and everything in me fights against that because I have so many different interests and things I want to do. So it’s really great to hear about somebody who can be successful doing that. And I mean, you do have the one main thing that is probably what you’re best known for, but it’s not stopping you from doing all the other things and making them successful too.

Tyler

35:03
Yeah, and, you know, it’s like, like, let’s talk realistically that humans, at least I don’t think, you know, humans aren’t meant to pick one thing to do till you die.

Nikki

35:16
God, I hope not.

Tyler

35:18
That sounds horrible, right? Like, yeah, school and corporate America wants us to think here’s your one thing, just rinse and repeat until you’re 60. And then we’ll see about giving you whatever you have left. Like, that’s not how things work. That’s not how us as animals as curious, curious animals are meant, right? And I don’t know about you guys, but I do better whenever I have a lot to sort of like sift through in life. Like, if I get done with this one thing, well, thank god, I got five other things I’m obsessed with.

Nikki

35:51
Yeah, definitely.

Laura

35:52
So you’re never gonna be bored.

Tyler

35:54
Yeah, that’s the point, you know, and boredom’s…as a parent, I’m learning like, it’s okay to be bored. Like, you want your kids to be bored, because that’s when they start problem solving. You know, I’m not asking to be entertained all the time. I’m just making sure I have the capacity to entertain myself with the tools around me.

Nikki

36:14
Absolutely. And I just, yesterday, or even earlier today, read something about how boredom is partly necessary for creativity to happen.

Tyler

36:25
Yes, I agree. Yeah. I mean, you need you need it. A lot of us hate it. But the way to get out of boredom is to use the tools around you. Figure out something to do.

Nikki

36:37
Come up with one of your 8000 crazy projects.

Tyler

36:41
Yeah, oh god, yeah.

Laura

36:42
So I have to ask being a dad, is that what sort of instigated your latest plushie?

Tyler

36:47
Oh, man, if I’m being 1,000% honest with you, I don’t know where that idea came from. I think I was just sitting around. So when DFTBA took over, I had time, they were like, Hey, man, whatever ideas you have send them to us. We have manufacturers for everything. And so I thought, what if I made a plushie, and maybe a part of it was seeing Nova play with his toys. He’s really into cicadas and like collecting bugs.

Nikki

37:18
Shocking!

Tyler

37:19
And I thought, well, if I made this, I think I thought well, what if I made a cicada plushie and I thought, what if it’s like a cicada shell that unzips into an adult cicada. And I sent that to the DFTBA team. They were like, holy shit. And I googled it. There’s not a cicada. There’s not a molting cicada plushie. In fact, there are next to no. And this is just from Google. Someone who, who may be one of your listeners is like, Hey, hey, man, I’ve make molting cicada pushies.

Nikki

37:55
I’m gonna guess not, but I could be wrong.

Tyler

37:59
There are any molting insect plushies. And how I’m like, Oh my God, that’s a whole series. You know…

Nikki

38:07
I can see a butterfly or moth coming out of a cocoon.

Tyler

38:11
Already. I’m already working on that one.

Nikki

38:13
Of course you are. Excellent.

Tyler

38:15
A molting praying mantis, like so many…

Laura

38:20
Snakes. Oh my god. Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t stop.

Nikki

38:22
Spiders! Have you seen spiders molt?

Tyler

38:25
Yeah. Like a tarantula.

Nikki

38:27
Oh, my God, it’s so creepy cool.

Tyler

38:29
We could throw ideas back… this is why I love this stuff. Because when you’re curious, and you’re in love with the world, everything you observe inspires another thing. And that’s why I like combining nature because it’s like, nature’s got everything, literally everything you would need for inspiration, it’s all right out there. And so I shared the cicada plushie, I didn’t really hype it. I just one day hopped on Instagram and I was like, I made this thing. And we sold 4300 plushies. In like, a week.

Nikki

39:02
I know, sadly, I didn’t find out about it until they were sold out.

Tyler

39:06
Oh, yeah. You can thank the algorithm for that.

Nikki

39:10
I know. So talk to us about the… just the practicality of it. How do you design a plushie? How do you make a plushie?

Tyler

39:21
Yeah, so luckily for me, I’m in that dream position now where I have the idea, I know how to draw. So I draw the idea and I send it to people who know what they’re doing. So I said, Can we make a plushie within a plushie that zips? And they said, Yes. I said, Okay, well, I want it to look like this. So I sent them a drawing of the cicada and they said we can do that. We need a drawing of every side like front, top, back. So I did that. And they said, Okay, now what does the plushie inside that plushie look like? So I said, Can it look like this? They said we can do that. So this top view, back view, side view, front view. So I did. And they said, Okay, here’s what we can do as close to that as possible. They sent me some stuff, you know, they send me photos. So the samples I say yea or nay or change this change that, once they’ve made something I like, then they say, okay, we’re shipping it to you so you can hold it, interact with it, tell us how you feel. I got the cicada and and I thought, oh my god, I’m holding this like, this is, this… I didn’t even have to make it. I just had to sketch it and ask somebody for help.

Nikki

40:31
That’s amazing.

Laura

40:33
And that is a critical thing that so many people aren’t like willing to do. It’s just asking for help.

Tyler

40:39
Yeah, that I’ve always done that. Like, in high school, I had my own art shows simply by emailing salons or coffee shops. I’m like, Can I hang some art up for a month? And they’re like, how old are you? I’m like, I’m 15. And they’re like, sure. You just yeah, you have to ask for help. Like, even when I reached out to J.A.W. Cooper for trade, like good things come from just asking for what you need. And yeah, not everyone’s receptive. But chances are, there’s at least one person out there who’s like, yeah, I can help. I have time and energy, and that one person could change your life, literally.

Nikki

41:17
Yeah, that’s fantastic. And I think Laura and I both have been intimidated by that in the past. But since starting this podcast, we’re like, yeah, we’ll just ask people. Worst they can do is say no.

Tyler

41:33
And most people are curious, you know, like, most people will open the email and say, What is this?

Nikki

41:37
And then and then Tyler Thrasher’s on your podcast?

Tyler

41:43
And then I’m here.

Nikki

41:46
Oh, and you should see the list of people that I’m not quite confident enough to ask yet.

Tyler

41:52
Oh do it, send it.

Nikki

41:53
Oh, I’m going to, I’m going to. Amanda Palmer. Are you listening? I don’t think you are. But eventually, you’ll be on our podcast.

Tyler

42:04
I’ll DM her for you.

Nikki

42:10
All right. So we got plushies. We got books, we got t-shirts. And you have another plant related book coming soon, I believe you just announced. Tell us about that one.

Tyler

42:23
Yeah. Okay. So another niche, another void. My wife loves to collect and press leaves and flowers from our garden. And I had been looking to get a flower press for her, it was a couple of birthdays ago. And most flower presses you can find, you know, they’re either really expensive, or they are really tacky. And I thought there’s got to be some middle ground here. And so I had one custom made for her by a woodworker friend, and I was like, Can you make… like how long did it take to make this and he was like, a month, and it weighs a lot, it’s got leather straps. It’s beefy, but it’s beautiful. I thought again, there’s got to be a middle ground. So I thought someone made a flower pressing journal, googled it, there’s a couple things maybe, but again, they’re they’re really tacky or, you know, my opinion, kind of Hobby Lobby-y. He, like it was kind of like I was like, Where’s the taste here? You know, I’m a such a snob, but I was like, it’s got to be beautiful. And so I thought I’m gonna make it if I can’t find it, and I need it, surely other people need it. So I reached out to a bunch of bookmaking companies, most of them were like, We cannot make a book out of wax paper or vellum, like the things you need to press flowers. I eventually found one that said, we can do a book out of vellum, it will not be cheap. And I thought, okay, that’s fair. Let’s see what we can do. And they put together this beautiful journal that fit my specifications. It’s a very weird shape. It’s I can’t remember the dimensions but it’s very tall and kind of skinny. It’s a very weirdly shaped book but perfect for pressing leaves…

Nikki

44:13
It looks kind of like one of those old ledgers, that kind of size and shape.

Tyler

44:18
Yeah, I needed, I like weird shaped books, they, they just they really get my attention. So I was like, this is nice. And there’s a nice cutout on the front cover where you can put your pressed leaves and you can pretty much design the cover of this book and it’s called the Phantom Flora and that will be shipping… I’ll have those in hand early November and I’ll be opening up the pre-orders for those really soon. So people can start pre-ordering them and get them in time for the holidays.

Nikki

44:50
Now that’s up my alley because I can’t grow a plant or keep one alive but I can press one. I can keep the dead ones going.

Tyler

45:03
You can keep a dead one looking good.

Nikki

45:05
I can, I mean, I use dead flowers and dead insects in my art. So. So I’ll be getting one of those.

Laura

45:17
What I love about it is that you take this approach Tyler, where you see that gap in the market and you’re curious about something, you look it up, and then you take action. And I think that that’s the gap that so many artists have is they see something and they might even see, oh, this doesn’t exist, but then they’re so intimidated by taking that next step that they don’t, what would you say to people like that?

Tyler

45:40
Well, first off, I’m not I’m going to take my own horn and punt it out the window onto the freeway, I am a nervous wreck. I am horribly insecure, I have anxiety of every flavor you can imagine. It’s what people see from me, I try to be honest with that. I am trying to convince myself that I can fucking do it. I’m never fully sure of myself, it’s always a gamble in my head. And I never feel qualified to do that thing. But I still do it. Because the world is larger than me and my insecurities and my anxieties and something I’m nervous about may very well inspire the ever loving shit of somebody else. So the first step is you got to get out of your own head. You have no idea how others will respond, you don’t get to pick that. And the second you say, I’m going to put my idea out of my own head and into the world where other creatures live, you do not get to pick how they decide how they interact with it. And that’s good and bad. But if you can own that entire narrative, then it doesn’t matter. Because everyone’s doing that every single day. I mean, my example, Hollywood makes multimillion dollar movies that are pure garbage. And some of those directors probably thought they’re making hot, spicy shit. They were actually making a pile of hot steaming shit. So if Hollywood can do this on millions and millions and millions of dollars, like it’s nothing, then you can take your idea that you had at two in the morning or while you’re in the shower, arguing with a past self, you can take that idea and just put it out there.

Nikki

47:22
Or having an existential crisis conversation with a cicada.

Laura

47:27
Which, by the way, we love… we’re gonna link to those in the show notes, because those reels are so awesome. I was rolling on the ground laughing. Oh, we’re good.

Nikki

47:36
They are. But first back to this. The idea that, yeah, you have all this anxiety and fear and unknown, but you don’t let it stop you.

Tyler

47:47
Yeah. And it’s, it’s hard because your mind gets in the way, we all know this. We, you know, we all got some of us got dumb brain syndrome, evil brain syndrome, where your brain will want to get you to like pull in and shelter and cut off everything. That’s not how the world works. And you just got to look at it. Are there things from my past that are helping feed this narrative? And are those things from the past even still alive or are they fossils. Once you’ve decided that, nothing matters. That’s the thing. There are no rules. There is no innate purpose. We’re just here to do what we love, and hopefully do some good and help others along the way. If you can get that mentality going, your ideas, they could be important. They couldn’t be. And they don’t have to be important. That’s the other thing. You can just have an idea that you love or you think is silly or goofy, and you can share it and say, hey, look, if it’s received well or not doesn’t matter. There’s a good chance it could be people make hot garbage like Hollywood all the time. I just it’s all about getting out of your own head, you know?

Nikki

48:56
Absolutely. So let’s talk about this existential cicada that got out of your head and started having conversations on TikTok and Instagram.

Tyler

49:10
Goddammit. Oh, oh, how did even they start? I, look, I talk to myself all the time. It gets pretty bleak in my head. If there was a camera setup in my lab. Most it would be me pacing back and forth, talking to myself, arguing with past people, arguing with future me. And then I would stop occasionally to stir the chemical solutions and then get back to pacing and arguing. My brain’s always talking and always going and it can be really exhausting. And so I thought, what if I took some of this and I projected it into say a plushie. I thought that was fucking hilarious.

Nikki

49:57
It is! It is fucking hilarious.

Tyler

49:59
It’s very dumb, I get it. But it started with me like, the cicada blew up, the plushie blew up, and I do a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, so I have a lot of silly voices, and I tell stories. And I thought, what if I gave the cicada a really dumb, a really dumb voice. And I did this little skit where I walk in, and the cicada’s sitting on the couch, and I’m like, Oh, my God cicada, like, You’re freaking popular and the cicadas like, “Me? Me? They love me?” Like, I was cracking myself up, like, what would the cicada sound like? And then everyone thought it was funny. So I thought, what if I gave the cicada, an existential crisis?

Nikki

50:45
Brilliant.

Tyler

50:48
So I thought that was funny. I was like a plushie having an existential crisis. And the cicadas like, you know, “Is there more to me than just marketing?” And I’m like consoling the cicada. But then the cicada is really a reflection of me. And so I’m giving myself therapy through the cicada. And so many people are like, Oh, my God, these are things I think, and now this plushie’s helping me. And I’m like, God, what have I done? So it was just all out of me just trying to cope, and get through, you know,

Nikki

51:22
Hey, whatever works, right?

Laura

51:26
Well, and you had that you had the guts to be vulnerable and put that out there. And everybody really connected to that, right?

Tyler

51:31
Yeah.

Tyler

51:32
Cuz they saw themselves in it. But yeah, the voice was hilarious.

Nikki

51:36
Well, also that, um, okay, you’ll say that, you’ll say that it’s fear and anxiety that you’re trying to break through. But from this side, it’s like, man, he has the confidence to just put it all out there and be his own goofy self. And I wish I could do that.

Tyler

51:58
Yeah, um, you know, I don’t know, I feel like healthy confidence has to come with a bit of anxiety. They almost feel each other. It’s like, you got to have them both, you know, you got to have the anxiety to not be, to not have too much hubris, right? You got to have the anxiety to not be like, Wow, man, I’m hot shit. And then when people tell you you’re not, you’re like, I don’t hear it. Like, you got to have the anxiety to not have the narcissist behavior. But you also got to have the confidence to not let the anxiety suffocate you. I think they go hand in hand. And if you can find the balance between your natural born anxiety, and then not let it consume you, and find the confidence to say, I’m going to be brave and silly or vulnerable, or yada, yada, despite my anxiety, that helps curb the anxiety. I just think you have to have both to be… I’m not saying I’m a well rounded human, but I’m trying. I’m trying every day. So I’m trying but you got to have both, you know

Laura

53:03
And it’s also okay, if not everybody loves you.

Tyler

53:05
Yeah.

Laura

53:05
Because as you grow on social media, especially as you’ve grown pretty substantially over the last few years, right? Not everybody’s going to be your number one fan. And that’s okay. Like..

Tyler

53:17
And that’s always tricky, because you get the DMs from people that are like, man, I really liked the crystal stuff. But now you’re sharing these stupid videos that I don’t think are funny. So I gotta unfollow you. And for me, I’m just when I get those, I’m like, Who the hell messages somebody? I’m like, What do you do… just go to the grocery store, what are you doing?

Laura

53:41
It’s all about them. It’s not about you, right?

Nikki

53:43
Just hit unfollow. You don’t have to tell me.

Tyler

53:46
Yeah, and the thing is too like, you know, there are shit talkers everywhere. There are gonna be people that are gonna have their own experiences and bias and their own lenses that they view themselves and others through. I do it, you, we all do it. Everyone listening has at least some sort of lens that reflects off of ourselves. Once you understand that about people, it’s hard to take too many things personally, like, everyone’s hurt, and everyone’s doing their best. And some of us just lash out a little louder than others.

Nikki

54:18
Yeah, for sure. But if you’re, if you’re pissing those people off or annoying them, and they unfollow you, that’s okay. Because you’re just narrowing down your audience to the people who really appreciate what you do.

Tyler

54:33
Yes.

Laura

54:34
Exactly.

Nikki

54:35
We’re still here. And really, what more do you need?

Tyler

54:40
Yes, this is great.

Laura

54:43
So what else is next for you?

Tyler

54:46
Oh, my God. Oh, so much.

Laura

54:50
One of 300 ideas brimming in your head?

Tyler

54:52
Yes, yes yes.

Nikki

54:53
Give us a couple.

Tyler

54:54
Okay, a couple. So, a lot of pressing journal, a whole bunch of plushies. I’m working on this geode plushie series where it’s a plushie geode that is velcroed shot and it cracks open, and there’s a tiny plushie insect inside of this crystal plushy geode.

Nikki

55:12
Nice.

Laura

55:13
Cool.

Tyler

55:14
I’m very, I’m very proud of that one. And then I am working on building a public conservatory. So I’m working toward getting a bigger lab and teaming up with a couple of other science-minded people and a really badass nanotech scientist in Tulsa, Paige Johnson. She does some really amazing work with batteries. She’s just an incredible person, and really supports the sciences and we’re trying to get a building together, where my lab can be open to the public, people can come see my work, and they can go to the roof and explore the conservatory on the roof that will house all of my crazy plants and so… That’s the next goal. I want like, if plants… pretty much if I could do Willy Wonka the way I would want to? That’s what I’m aiming for.

Laura

56:09
That’s what your factory would look like.

Tyler

56:10
Yes.

Nikki

56:12
I can see. I can see it. It’s time for a road trip to Tulsa.

Tyler

56:17
That’s the plan. You know,

Laura

56:18
So Tyler, my entire family lives in Tulsa. So when I go visit, yeah, my parents and my brother’s family all live there. So next time I’m in town, I’m going to have to see you face to face.

Tyler

56:28
Cool. Yes. And, you know, there’s a lot of people that follow my work. And my work looks different in person, than on social media. And so I want somewhere where I can display you know, hundreds of crystallized insects, and have plants, and you know, I can go get coffee with people, we can pop up to the greenhouse and I can just talk your ear off about the things I love about this world. And you can’t escape. You have to sit in that greenhouse.

Nikki

56:52
Hey, sign me up, I’m in. I’m in for sure. All right, so more plushies, the conservatory building? And what else you got?

Tyler

57:04
Man? So just if I’m going full fantasy here, my goal one day is I want to own a cave. I want to own a cave that I can dig out, excavate, explore. Hopefully, maybe there’s some endangered species I can use my resources to protect as well. I have a friend of mine who he bought land here. And he bought it because he felt air coming out of one of the cliff faces on the land. He knew well enough to know that there was maybe a cave system hidden on this land, bought it fairly cheap. And then he literally dug out the crack and opened up into a mile long cavern that had severely endangered grey bats. I think they’re the long-eared bats, and he did everything he could to protect them. Got the gates, the cages, on the entrance so noone coud go in and vandalize it. And he kept digging and found some of the tallest calcite structures in that part of Oklahoma in a cave. Like fountains, fountains of calcite just dripping down from the ceilings. And he took that as like a reward from the universe for finding these bats and taking the efforts to protect them.

Nikki

58:19
Amazing.

Tyler

58:20
That’s what I, I would love to put my love and energy towards something like that.

Laura

58:26
That’s fantastic. It’s super cool. I didn’t even realize Oklahoma has these caves and stuff.

Tyler

58:32
So Tulsa doesn’t have a whole lot of caves. Hardly any. You got to go to like eastern Oklahoma, right next to Arkansas. The closer you get to Arkansas, you get closer to that type of elevation where there’s karst and limestone. And that’s where you get cave formation. So eastern Oklahoma has some pretty good caves, but of course, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, that’s where you’re gonna get some of the beautiful, like show caves that you pay to walk through.

Laura

58:59
Awesome, or the or the one that you’re gonna own in the future.

Nikki

59:02
We’ve got some of those in Kentucky where I live.

Tyler

59:05
Oh, Kentucky is big. Kentucky has Mammoth Caves. So yeah, I mean, that’s the dream. I would love to just have a little piece of land, maybe build a curiosity cabin out there for me and my family somewhere where I can like, you know, I grew up with a big family. And I dream of having somewhere where I can have my own family reunions that are healthy, and awesome and safe. Somewhere where I can be like, this is a safe space. And we have a cool ass cabin. And I have a cave right here, who wants to put on some helmets and headlamps and go learn some stuff and explore. Like that’s the kind of Dad I want to be.

Laura

59:47
That’s awesome.

Nikki

59:48
So we have a couple of questions that we like to sort of tie things up with. I want to know is there anything that we didn’t ask you that we should have? Can you think of anything.

Tyler

1:00:05
Oh man that’s that’s a question. Oh man.

Nikki

1:00:07
I know.

Laura

1:00:09
Not to put you on the spot or anything.

Tyler

1:00:11
You just flipped that shit off me. Things that you should’ve asked me. Oh man, well I like sour candy, so we can inquire about the sour candy. I love… I’m obsessed. People bring me sour candy to my art shows like as offerings.

Nikki

1:00:28
Interesting! What kind? Any particular kind or anything sour?

Tyler

1:00:32
So I’m gonna go ahead and say this.

Nikki

1:00:33
Okay.

Tyler

1:00:33
Warheads are not what they used to be. They’re absolute garbage. They’re not even enjoyable.

Nikki

1:00:38
All right.

Tyler

1:00:40
Let’s see here, Trolli bottom of the barrel. Like, do not consider a Trolli sour warm in the family of sour candy.

Nikki

1:00:49
Okay.

Tyler

1:00:50
Bottom of the barrel.

Laura

1:00:51
So what are the best?

Tyler

1:00:53
Top tier. It’s a it is a tight competition between Smog Balls. So there’s a sour candy company called Toxic Waste. And they make these things called Smog Salls. They’re like jaw breakers that when you bite into them, you are just absolutely blasted with like just electricity. It’s, they are freaking delicious. Top tier, and then next to that, Sour Strips. So there’s a candy company called Actual Candy. And they make these like Sour Strips. And they are the best and they say this and they’ve earned it. Like they said we are the best, there’s no one else that can beat our sour candy. I said I will test this. I ordered a bunch. They actually sent me a bunch like to prove me wrong. And like immediately like my mouth gets goosebumps when I think about them. You cannot beat the sour strips.

Nikki

1:01:54
Ooh ooh, Tyler, Tyler I see a series… I see a partnership. Sour cicadas.

Tyler

1:02:02
Sour..Ooh? Okay, I’m typing the email as we speak.

Nikki

1:02:07
Okay. It’s

Nikki

N I K K I

Nikki

1:02:17
I don’t want any money for my idea. Just a little line of credit.

Tyler

1:02:21
I can do that, I get that lined up. Oh my gosh. Sour cicadas. Who wants worms when you can eat a cicada.

Tyler

1:02:31
Oh my god. Who can I reach? Okay, hold up. Hold up. I’m so effing serious. Wait. Okay, whoever’s listening. Listen, listen. Listen. If you can make this happen for us. We… this is great. Sour cicadas.

Laura

1:02:46
Yeah. Amazing.

Nikki

1:02:48
Okay

Tyler

1:02:48
And then you rip the cicada shell open… and you pull out…

Nikki

1:02:51
It has a crunchy outer shell and a gummy inside.

Tyler

1:02:59
What? Okay. Okay, you got to let me line this up before you air this. This. Someone’s gonna take…

Nikki

1:03:07
We’ve gotta…

Tyler

1:03:08
Hold up, how much time do I have?

Nikki

1:03:09
We’ll work on this. We’ll work on this.

Tyler

1:03:12
Yeah. Okay. Seriously, hard molting insect candy. Hard outside. Inside it’s a gummy…gummy. God damn it, Nikki.

Nikki

1:03:23
Fucking brilliant.

Tyler

1:03:27
Shit.

Nikki

1:03:30
I love it.

Laura

1:03:31
I love it, too.

Nikki

1:03:32
All right. Aren’t you glad I asked you that hard question?

Tyler

1:03:35
Dude. Yeah, okay. Yeah. Um, we’ll talk. We’ll make this happen.

Nikki

1:03:38
Nice. Nice. Yeah, let’s chat.

Laura

1:03:40
And we also know the top tier sours now that we can bribe Tyler with at any point in time in the future.

Nikki

1:03:46
Absolutely.

Tyler

1:03:47
1,000% will work every time.

Laura

1:03:49
He’s revealed this weakness.

Nikki

1:03:50
Awesome. Awesome.

Laura

1:03:54
All right. So another question we like to ask to wrap up our episodes is what advice would you give to our listeners who are just getting started and the advice that you wish looking back on your career like what you wish you would have known when you were first getting started?

Tyler

1:04:10
Oh, my God. Yes, couple of things. Acknowledge your weaknesses and find people in your circle that can help satisfy those weaknesses. I am my most organized person. And when my social media blew up, and I had 100 people want to order a piece of art, and I have no organizational skills or tendencies. I really made things hard for myself. So just be honest with yourself. It’s okay to say you have weaknesses. And it’s actually very, very strong to stop and say these are the things I suck at. But luckily, there are people who are good at these. So acknowledge those. And also ask yourself, How can I fuck this up? That, just get that out of the way. Because you can, but ask yourself, like, how can I fuck this up? And then just keep that right there on your periffs. Don’t obsess over it, but just keep that list. Be aware, because they do exist and just be prepared because it is the enemy, future you who will fuck things up. So those are my two big ones to help ease future hurdles. Beyond that. Beyond that, if we’re talking staying inspired, nature, nature, nature, nature. All technology is inspired by nature. Everything you use day to day was inspired by some natural observation. When you’re feeling down, when you’re feeling uninspired, do not get on social media. Do not. Social media is the envy machine, there is nothing worse than literally being uninspired while also comparing yourself to others. And get the fuck outside. I such a trite and cliche thing to say, but God dammit, it works. Get outside and just stop and look around and you will find something that will inspire you or at least remind you that there are things beyond your own internal hurdles, you know, and ask for help. Ask for help.

Laura

1:06:21
Yep.

Nikki

1:06:22
Absolutely. Those are great. Tyler, thank you so much for being here and talking to us for the last hour or so.

Tyler

1:06:32
Thank you guys.

Laura

1:06:32
Yeah, thank you so much.

Nikki

1:06:34
I have been a fan for, as we’ve said, many years. And so it’s really nice to get to know you a bit more.

Nikki

1:06:43
You’re talented beyond belief and just an inspiration.

Tyler

1:06:47
Wow, thank you.

Nikki

1:06:49
And we’re gonna talk candy.

Tyler

1:06:54
Yes, yes, we are. Yes. I mean, no one take our idea. Don’t let me… we’re gonna do… we’re gonna do it.

Nikki

1:07:01
We’ll get it in the works before we release this episode.

Tyler

1:07:04
Okay. Thank you guys.

Nikki

1:07:09
For today’s Startist Society show notes and links to all the things that Tyler is currently obsessed with. Go to startistsociety.com/tylerthrasher.

Laura

1:07:20
If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, we’d love for you to leave us a five star rating and review. Reviews help us reach more Startists like you and keep us inspired to continue creating new episodes.

Nikki

1:07:31
Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.

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