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Daily Inspiration: Meet Tyler West

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyler West.

Hi Tyler, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started my career as a Concept Artist in video game development in 2004. At that time, digital painting was a relatively new medium and very few people knew what a Concept Artist did. It was an exciting time where video game graphics were becoming much more realistic and there was an ever-growing need for skilled Concept Artists to help game developers visualize their games. I co-founded West Studio with my wife in 2008 with the intention to take what I learned as an “in house” Concept Artist and provide those same services to clients from all over the world. West Studio’s mission from the beginning was to focus on quality. There were more and more outsource studios with a reputation for inconsistent quality and a lack of design fundamentals. West Studio was the first in the game space to build custom creative teams for each project to deliver on the specific creative goals set out by our clients. This was at a time when most outsource studios relied on only “in house” artists and whatever creative ask came in they would just hope their fixed team of artists could deliver. I knew that the best way to deliver on quality was to hire the perfect team of artists for each specific project. This really set us apart from our competition and it is one of the reasons we have been able to deliver consistently high-level quality art and design in a myriad of styles and covering a variety of subject matter.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Before we started West Studio I worked as a Concept Artist for Electronic Arts (EA) and NCsoft. I had to go through challenging layoffs at each of those studios and I was only a few years out of college. Although it was painful, I think it was the kick in the pants that I needed to go out on my own. I felt at that time that I didn’t have anything to lose. The other big challenge for me was learning how to not only be an artist but how to be a business owner. They are two very different skill sets and it took several years for me to really feel like I knew what I was doing.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’ve always had a passion for design and world-building. As a Concept Artist, I specialized in environments. I personally love seeing complex fantasy locations and stories of adventure visualized for games and film. Being able to participate in that early visual development is what excites me the most these days. I’m also very proud of the incredibly strong and versatile production methods I’ve honed over the years. My company never shies away from a creative challenge and because of my wife and co-founder and the incredible team we’ve assembled, we know how to confidently and consistently deliver.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Fortunately, our industries haven’t suffered financially from the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We were already in a good position to transition to work from home. We have been lucky in the fact that most of our artists were already working for us remotely all over the world. For our in-house team of Art Directors, Business Development and Production Management – they all lived fairly close and were able to adapt very quickly. We had to make some investments to our studio infrastructure to ensure secure remote computer and server access, but that all went pretty smoothly. Although we have been lucky enough to not be hit financially, I have learned a lot. For one, I trust my team more than I ever could have without this experience. I can see more clearly now that they are extremely self-motivated and always get the job done regardless if they are working in the same room as me or if they are 100 miles away. I am also grateful that my co-founder goes out of her way to connect with our team on a personal level and makes sure they have all their needs taken care of. Twice a week, we have a set time for us all to get on Zoom and catch-up with everyone – how they are doing personally, work progress and challenges. Many times, we spend a lot of our meeting time laughing and sharing about our lives. I can confidently say that we will ultimately be a stronger studio when we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact Info:

Image Credit: Tyler West

Image Credit: William Wu

Image Credit: Daniel Xiao

Image Credit: Joon Ahn

Image Credit: Tyler West

Image Credit: David Knapp

Image Credit: Andrew Domachowski

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