Artist and Conservationist
“I’ve got too many plants. And I need more.”
- Tyler Thrasher
Tyler Thrasher’s art takes many forms—from illustrating nature to crystallizing deceased insects to creating dried plants that glow in the dark. And now he’s serving as the frontman on our video for the reboot of our Lost Species campaign.
A self-employed artist going on six years now, Tyler is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he grew up. He developed an interest in plants early on, since he lived in a greenhouse as a kid. In high school, an art teacher encouraged him to take her class, which set him on course to pursue a BFA in college, with an emphasis in computer animation.
What Tyler has in equal measures is enthusiasm and resilience. In December 2016, he and his wife lost everything they had in a house fire. “I realized that our creation comes from nothing, and that’s the magic in what we do. We build from nothing, and for no other reason than the fact that it gives us life,” he said. “Don’t let a tragedy stop you. Let it slow you down and catch your breath. But don’t stop. Remember why you started doing it in the first place and return there.” A friend visited the ruined home with them and they turned it into a moody backdrop for a beautiful outdoor shoot.
In summer of 2020, he used proceeds of a t-shirt sale to buy and assemble science kits he designed called “The Chemical Garden” to distribute to 400 Tulsa youth, “especially BIPOC kids who live in a state that undervalues and neglects education and more so in these respective communities,” he said. The kits allowed users to create a reaction in which synthetic crystals and various salts react with sodium silicate to form delicate and intricate structures and plant-like growths.
When he’s not doing art, science, helping the world or propagating plants, he’s spending time with his young son Nova, who he is raising with his wife Molly. “I get asked a lot of parenting questions on this app and I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m doing my best,” he told his thousands of followers on Instagram. “A lot of the stuff we are trying to show Nova is a lot of things that we want to see in men. We want to see emotional intelligence, men that respect boundaries and men that know to respect and stand up for their own boundaries.”
He also loves Dungeons and Dragons.
Many of Tyler’s fans follow his work with Monstera plants. He often finds them at big box stores, and takes them home to propagate and take cuttings. “I’ve given away maybe 50 cuttings or so. I’ve given away as many cuttings as I’ve kept, which is kind of like my mentality with growing and collecting plants, to grow them and share them.”
All photos by Tyler Thrasher.