Kiel Tillman

We had the opportunity to chop it up with Kiel Tillman, An artist thats almost certainly adding colour to a city near you. From his eye catching murals to the every growing list of clients Kiel has been making waves in the design industry whilst unwinding on the beach. He created a playlist of 100+ Songs and its an absolute ripper, If you are struggling to get into your groove just click play! 
Hey Kiel, Are you able to give us a backstory into who you are, where you grew up and where do you currently call home?
So I was actually born in Gosford hospital and lived at Umina on the central coast till I was about 6. Then moved to a small coastal town called Old Bar on the mid north coast of new south wales. This is where I spent my formative years surfing and skating around with my buddies. That all ended when I finished year 12 and moved to the Gold Coast to study Graphic Design. That move was 20 years ago. I now reside in Currumbin on the southern end of the Gold Coast.
Theres something about driving past a mural for me and just being blown away and as I scroll through Instagram your murals always without a doubt grab my eye.
What are some of your favourite things about being able to create large scale murals? 
My favourite part is finishing the mural. Haha. The process of painting it can be really unpredictable. There's so many factors to consider, like what is the wall surface like? Is it inside or outside? Is it gonna rain? Do I have enough paint? etc etc. Each wall is different too. Some of them I have loved the process of painting them and others I could not wait to be finished. BUT, the feeling you get when you finish, stand back and see what you’ve created is like no other. You forget any issues you may have had throughout the process. That feeling is what keeps me painting murals.
How did you end up pursuing art as a career and have you always had an artistic eye?
I was always creative as a kid but didn't really know how I could make that a career (This was back in the 90s pre youtube tutorials and social media) In my year 12 Design and Technology class, instead of making something in the woodwork shop like most of my classmates, I created a surf tshirt label for my final assessment. From that I discovered you could do that kind of stuff for a living as this thing called a Graphic Designer. So that was where I found my path.
Have you had a favourite piece of work you’ve created so far? If so, who was it for and why was this your favourite piece? (Feel free to leave a few images for this question) 
I think it was the cube mural I created a couple of years back for a small mural festival. It was just a really good representation of my style. I got to flex some typography and illustration within the finished piece. Plus it wasnt client work. I had free reign on the design.
Also working with Wu-tang designing all of their Australian and New Zealand merch for their 36 chambers 25th anniversary tour. I think what made it most rewarding was that I made it happen myself. I had an idea for a tee and chased them down, got in contact with the right people and ended up working direct with the Wu-tang brand manager and designing a full 20 piece range.
You have a unique style of variety within your work, thats an incredible skill to have. Do you draw inspiration from an particular artists? Id love If you could name a few of these artists and possibly what it is about their work that allows you to add to your own.
What got me into art itself was this old magazine called Juxtapoz. Monster Children was a big one for me too. So there I found artists like James Jean (I have multiple JJ prints in my house), Mike Giant, Jeremy Fish, Thomas Campbell, Shepard Fairey, Jose Parla, Steven Powers (Espo) Dave Kinsey, Miss Van and Mark Ryden. So they influenced me alot in my early career and still very much to this day. A few others to mention would be Mcbess, David Carson, Nychos, Anthony Lister. And you know, instagram is full of so many talented people now, its hard to remember them all.
You built a pretty comfortable brand that is Kiel Tillman and this year (Correct me if I’m wrong) you started a new Venture in TillMan Creative Co. What interested you in going out as a Creative Studio rather than a personal brand? Was it the ability to have more artists all jamming together or are you still working as Kiel Tillman and Tillman Creative Co? 
Tillman Creative Co was basically just an evolution of my Kiel Tillman artist persona. It is still me just doing my thing, but it allows me to grow into more of a creative studio. Plus a large chunk of my client work is design based. Such things as brand identity projects where I contract in my trusted crew to build on my design work with things like brand strategy, creating marketing assets, videography, website etc 
As an artist you would be very flat-out, What does downtime look like for you? 
Running your own business definitely takes a lot of your time and it is hard to switch off. Downtime for me is usually just hanging with my wife and kids. Our go to is probably grabbing a coffee and heading to the beach or taking the dog for a walk. We’re pretty spoilt with awesome breweries on the Gold Coast too, so I sneak a cheeky craft beer in where I can. I also want to take up bird watching (not a joke)
You’re well and truly grinding away and pumping out great work, What do you want from 2020? 
Just building up Tillman Creative Co. Putting together a team. More walls painted, more brands designed and any other crazy creative projects that float our way.
A few fun Qs to finish it up.
Here’s a hypothetical, Its game day and you’re off to the studio to finish up a graphic for a popular company. Do you have a playlist or podcast you listen to as you work, Id love to hear what it is that allows you to just work your magic.
O.K. Music is a massive inspiration for me, so I have put together a playlist just for you. It is a mix of some of my all time fave songs and gives a good indication of the type of music I listen to. It does a fair bit of genre hopping and it’s pretty long, so be prepared.
If you could travel anywhere in the world with your family where would it be and why? 
We recently spent a few days in a super nice cabin at Evans Head and that was pretty awesome. We want to head to Disneyland in a couple of years and Hawaii as well.
Its time for a road trip, the family are all packed up and you’re on the road. What are three essential items you must always have for a trip away? This can be anything from artist gear, favourite beer and even a pair of shoes. 
Ipads to keep the kids quiet in the car. 
Car snacks, probably natural confectionary lollies of some sort (for me, not the kids) 
Swimmers / Surfboards / Beach gear
They’re all pretty boring, but gotta have those things covered otherwise its a shit time.
Last but not least, What was the most memorable Tv series you last watched?
Probably Sex Education on netflix. Such a good show. It’s written so well and all the characters are awesome. I also just watched The Gloaming. Its an australian thriller series. Pretty good.



You can find more of Kiels work below.

Instagram: @Kieltillman

Instagram: @Tillmancreativeco


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