TR in full method mode – ever timeless and classic – like Wyoming itself. Photo: Wade Dunstan
Tim Tomkinson is a renewed illustrator hailing for Wyoming that has been published in periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, GQ, Rolling Stone, Men’s Health among many others (full client list). He was recently invited by Travis Rice to design boards for Wyoming Tourism that capture the essence of Wyoming and a love of the mountains. We caught up with him over the Holidays to get his take on the project and what inspired these amazing works of art.
How did the board collab with Travis Rice and Wyoming Tourism come about?
Travis called me up after he and Lonnie Anderson discussed the project together. Travis thought it would be killer to use a Wyoming artist, since they are Wyoming boards, and he and I had been looking for a good project to collaborate on for a while. So this seemed like a perfect fit.
What was the inspiration for each of the board designs?
The Wyoming Flag board was Travis’s idea. It’s just such a great, iconic flag that it was almost a no-brainer. We were actually surprised that it hadn’t been done yet! The Postcard and Abstract ones were my ideas, along with several other concepts, but Travis narrowed it down to these three.
The Postcard board gave us a good chance to show a range of Wyoming scenery, culture, and wildlife, but in an almost tongue-in-cheek format that hints at Wyoming being a perfect tourist destination. Postcard typography!
The Abstract board as I call it, though not technically abstract given the very representational wildlife drawings, was more of just an anything-goes approach. I liked the idea of connecting the three, graphically, via their antlers/horns. Moose, Elk, and Bison are pretty iconic species for Wyoming, so they seemed to be the best choices for the board. Plus, bears don’t have antlers….
TR – a buff mute gran in honor of Buffalo Bill. Photo: Wade Dunstan
What are your favorite elements from each?
My favorite element of the WY Flag board is the seal in the center. It’s pretty subtle at first glance, but I actually customized the elements of the seal to show two snowboarders holding their boards on both sides of Lady Justice. They were originally a Miner and a Rancher. You can see the difference here.
For the Postcard board, definitely the UFO over Devil’s Tower! I had thrown that in as a joke in my sketch, in reference to the film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, but Travis and Lonnie both loved it and insisted I keep it in for the final art.
My favorite part of the Abstract board is probably the Buffalo, because… they’re adorable?
As a Wyoming native how important was it to keep a strong connection to Wyoming and the history of the state?
Very important! Not only to the client—Wyoming Tourism—but also to Travis and the rest the people from Wyoming that might see the boards. I didn’t want them to be just generic marketing tools for Wyoming, with cliché imagery… but rather boards that anybody, even outside of Wyoming, would be stoked to ride. And hopefully make them excited about Wyoming in the process, which is really the ultimate goal of the whole project: to get people here! So, not exactly an easy task, but I do think Travis, Lonnie, and I came up with a pretty good representation of Wyoming’s rich culture and history, while still turning them into coveted items (even if the Travis Rice connection were removed).
The final results – an on-snow ode to the great state of Wyoming.
You have a unique illustration style; who are you artistic influences?
Oh man, so many! A very edited-down list includes: Magritte, Dali, Maxfield Parrish, Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, Bauhaus, David Levine, Windsor McKay, Peter Blake, Paul Klee, Barron Storrey, Saul Steinberg.
What process do you go through in coming up with your designs?
The process is often different from job to job, but pretty much always starts with a conversation, then sketches, then finals. The sketch stage is often the most difficult part of the process, since it involves coming up the concepts themselves.. which can take more time and stress than executing the final art itself. A crappy idea that is executed well is still a crappy idea. For this job, there was an added hurdle in that Travis was in the process of sailing around the Pacific while we were in the sketch stage. So it was sometimes difficult to even connect for a quick chat or email about the ideas. But we eventually connected and made it work!
How does Travis stack up as an ambassador to the Wyoming life?
I would say he’s one of Wyoming’s best ambassadors. Regardless of any further heights of fame he reaches and places he travels, he’s the kind of genuine person that will always be a kid from Wyoming at heart, and always revere his home. It doesn’t hurt that he was raised in the mountains of Jackson Hole, with access to some of the most incredible terrain around, not to mention the mere beauty itself.
Have you ever done board graphics before?
This was my first time doing board graphics. Gotta say, it was a pretty cool project to test the waters with.
To check out more of Tim Tomkinson’s work visit his website at: http://www.timtomkinson.com and for more info on this epic collab visit http://winter.wyomingtourism.org/sweepstakes/