F5: Tyler Thrasher Combines Art, Science + the Joys of Experimentation

F5: Tyler Thrasher Combines Art, Science + the Joys of Experimentation

Tyler Thrasher is a quadruple hyphenate: an artist, chemist, botanist, and explorer. He aims to spread curiosity, share his own enthusiasm about combining art and science, and the joys that come from experimentation. Tyler’s is the author of Grow a Damn: Plant Journal, now available where books are sold. The luxe journal encourages the user to “think like a botanist” and includes more than 90 pages to document and observe your own plants through the lens of Tyler’s own excitement and curiosity. His work has been featured in Juxtapoz magazine, at The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and Vox’s “The Future Of” series on Netflix.

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Today, Tyler Thrasher is joining us for Friday Five!

brown-skinned man with dreadlocks wearing a black t-shirt and holding a planter

Tyler Thrasher \ Photo: Molly Thrasher

three individuals caving

Photo: Tyler Thrasher

1. Caving

Sometimes known as “spelunking,” but I wouldn’t call it spelunking to avid cavers. There’s a special connection formed with our planet as you delve deep into realms most humans won’t dare venture. The common fears being getting crushed, getting lost, or running into a bear. Caves are some of the most sound and stable structures on the planet, as they’ve far outlived every human-made structure we comfortably reside in. For me, caving is an almost spiritual experience. You get a glimpse of a world and process that occurs beneath our feet and far before our species dawn. It can really remove you from your own human troubles and place you in the heart of what this whole thing is all about; a balance and respectful dance with Nature.

an arm wearing a butterfly bead bracelet while using a laptop

Photo: Tyler Thrasher

2. Handmade Jewelry

Life is built on meaningful and thoughtful connections. Sometimes something as simple as a handmade piece of jewelry from a loved one contains depths of love, respect, and safety all packed into one tiny gift. My son made this bracelet for me when he was three, and it’s a staple in my daily wardrobe and easily one of my most prized possessions – especially in ways I didn’t expect. I’m a very fidgety individual, and my wife noticed one day I was calmly spinning the bracelet around my wrist as the plastic butterflies offered a calming rhythmic movement. If someone makes you something, wear it and know they were thinking of you the entire time.

black and white artwork of a bird

Safekeeping \ Photo: Tyler Thrasher

3. Christina Mrozik

Mrozik’s work has always demanded my utmost respect. Their approach to physically signify the intricacies and complex details of natural connectivity is nothing short of praising Nature. There’s an agonized and explosive beauty in how Mrozik interprets the tangle all nature has with all nature, and reminds me to take my own wild entanglement with respect and acknowledgement. Thank you, Chris.

group of Dungeons and Dragons dice

Photo courtesy URWizards

4. Dungeons and Dragons

I will preach this till the day I die: DnD is nothing like you think it is. It’s less of a game and more of a lesson in cooperative storytelling and vulnerability. You’ll hopefully find yourself sitting at a table of confidants encouraging you to let your walls down just enough to be a big dork. It’s not an activity in which you “win,” but one in which you learn just how good you are at suspending reality long enough to enjoy the present moment. You’ll learn how creative you actually are, and come to have a deep appreciation for the collaborative efforts of 5-6 humans sitting around some dice with a few ideas. Wizard hats and robes are optional and I say “why not?” There are no stereotypes in DnD, and I cherish the story of a nursing mom who puts her baby to sleep and runs downstairs to embody her Elf Rogue with a knack for sneakily drop-kicking her foes into their fellow tavern goers.

moody image of plant

Photo: Tyler Thrasher

5. Mesembs

In my opinion, they’re the strangest plants on the planet. We’re all familiar with the colorful dusty palette of succulents that have littered every plant shop and interior design catalog since the dawn of Pinterest, but very few people know of a family of succulents endemic to southern Africa. Succulents so strange that they can appear dead during half of the year and then burst forth with cubic leaves, round leaves, and even leaves that look like tiny gummy candies. The best part? These plants are relatively easy to care for once you understand their cycles.


Work by Tyler Thrasher:

blue artwork of tyrannosaurus with roses

Tyranoroses Rex. A scientific/botanical illustration completed with a blue mechanical pencil, white chalk, and drawn on handmade and hand-dyed paper. \ Photo: Molly Thrasher

crystalized cicada on white background

Crystallized Cicada grown and synthesized in Thrasher’s lab with Iron Ammonium sulfate and added impurities for micro crystal growth. \ Photo: Tyler Thrasher

neon plant foliage

Moonbeam Flora, aka dried and preserved plants that glow in the dark created in Thrasher’s studio. \ Photo: Rachel Thompson

synthetic opal on black background

Synthetic Opal grown in Thrasher’s lab. This piece is viewed directly under a microscope. \ Photo: Tyler Thrasher

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