Notable Gallery Opening: Raising Colour by Tyler Tilley

Tyler Tilley is the co-founder (along with his two siblings) of Next Level Art Collective and co-owner of Parkdale’s Goodfellas Gallery and has been experimenting with art his entire life. But it wasn’t until his mid 20s that art went from an outlet, to a passion, to a career.

He brings an unusual but balanced portion to the canvas. His input in painting is bold and raw, but also intricate and emotional. When creating expressionistic abstract work, much of his energy comes from family relationships, music and his past.

Tilley has been working with the application of epoxy resin through out the past few years, tweaking his technique and maturing the process as you can see in his new 3D work. Between layers elevate different sections off the two dimensional plane, allowing the audience to dissect the work by looking within and through the painting. The same can be done to the individual.

The layers of colour that Tilley applies on top of one another allows you to feel emotion popping from the canvas; each layer a significant moment and each work a window into the artist.

The pieces are very stimulating with their grand presence, composition, colour, and technique, but you can also feel Tilley’s passion and excitement in each piece.

Q: What is the message you are trying to convey from the work that you do as an artist?
A: That art haunts me. It teases me. It pleasures me. It fills me up. It is an outlet that has allowed all my thoughts, ideas, dreams filter into one direction. I don’t really care to be understood, hence abstract being my crux. The overall message is there is no message—I just want you to feel something, to be pulled in, get inspired and then go do something great!

Q: “Within every piece, each colour represents an emotion; each layer a significant moment and each work a window into the artist” is part of your artist statement. Can you elaborate how you got so emotionally connected to colour?
A: My palette tends to change rapidly, as do my thoughts. Yes, the colours truly reflect my thinking/mood; it comes in cycles. When I am doing really well as a whole, naturally, my paintings tend to be brighter (“prettier.”) But it’s funny and confusing, when all you have for paint supplies are bright, funky colours and you are miserable… those tend to be my favourite pieces.

Q: Should art need to be explained or it is all in the eye of the beholder?
A: Abstract is my diary. It can’t be explained and I don’t think it should be attempted. It’s obvious that there is an emotional statement being made, but I believe it is a reflection of the viewer and nothing to do with the artist at all…

Q: As a new artist to the Toronto scene, what do you think Toronto’s strong points are as an art hub and what is lacking?
A: Toronto is maturing into a beautiful city and I believe in it. I’ve personally seen a shift over these few years. The art market is only getting better for artists and galleries. The art community is growing stronger, tighter; you can feel it and see it throughout the core. Toronto has raised some of the best contemporary artists. I’m honoured to be sharing the same playground as these giants. The only thing we’re caught up on is many of us still care about what people think—we need to just let that go and do what we need to do.

Q: Will your upcoming solo exhibition Raising Colour hold true to your original style or have your grown and branched off?
A: My body of work has shifted over the years and as of late has been focusing on the elevation of colours, textures. Through layering with a clear epoxy resin, I’ve been able to deliver fine abstract art that is 3 dimensional. To date, I have not seen anything that reflects 3D abstract fine art… nntil now! I get high off of being the first to do something or at least raising the bar.

Q: Within every piece, each colour represents an emotion; each layer a significant moment and each work a window into the artist. How can our YP readers follow and preview your works?
A: Raising Colour is coming to Goodfellas Gallery this Saturday, Sept. 28th. I’ve been working on this body of work for the last six months and it’s my best to date. Contact info: Web: &; instagram: nextlevelart.

Pop by this Saturday and check out his work and have a drink! If you can’t make this Saturday, be sure to head over to GoodFellas Gallery as the show is up till the end of October.