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Artist Feature: Sean Tulgetske

Where does one begin when they are introducing Sean Tulgetske? His talent? His cool-headed, Mid-Western work ethic? Or the fact that since Closer&Closer began he has been ‘our guy’. We can’t talk about Sean without talking about how many hours and how much he has contributed to Closer&Closer; how excited we are about his growth as an artist and even more so as a person.

Sean- We are your biggest fans. Thank you for all you do and who you are.

Everyone who is reading this- we think you should be his biggest fan too.

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
My name is Sean Tulgetske and I currently am working out of my studio in Lansing, Michigan. I recently got married to my amazing and talented wife, Rosie. As far as I can think back, I’ve always enjoyed making things. Starting off with Legos, to building box dirt jumps and skate ramps with my brothers, eventually finding myself clicking every button in bootleg versions of Photoshop. I was always redrawing skateboarding logos and a variety deck graphics. Now it’s the same thing only slightly more grown up. I try to keep my work playful and loose, while containing a bit of well-worn nostalgia. I’m driven by my curiosity of how thing came about and find myself applying the old school methods with fresh techniques.

Describe a typical work day for you.
I like to start my days off slow, usually before sunrise, by reading a little with a cup of coffee and then meditating before I get my day moving. I like to keep my working hours somewhat consistent in order to avoid overworking myself or burning out. I’ve found that I’m most creative and inspired when I stick to a routine. Music is a huge part of my process and I will have my headphones in pretty much the entire day. Music helps to set the flow for the work I’m doing. I typically call it an honest days work around 5, then head off to get dinner cooked before my wife gets home.

Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most?
I love putting the finishing touches on a project that make it complete. Textures, imperfections, ink bleeds, etc… Anything to make a final illustration feel less polished or perfected.

Was there a striking moment in your life where you knew you had to become an Illustrator?
It wasn’t really a striking moment, rather something that grew stronger over time. Both of my parents were creative in their own separate ways. That deeply influenced my perspective of things around me from early on. The deeper I dive and older I get in my creative career, the more I’m realizing how these influences from my childhood play into the things I’m creating.

What mediums do you enjoy working with most?
I really love replicating old school techniques with new technology. Everything usually starts with pencil and paper, but the iPad Pro is so dang nifty.

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream project look like?
I’d love to design and curate co-working space / breakfast café. Cooking is something I’ve become passionate about and I’d like to create an inspiring space that fuels a creative community. Not to mention it is impossible to find a place that serves a real omelette these days… I’m a total snob when it comes to breakfast and I’d be a place that’s doing it right.

Outside of your work, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I’m an avid outdoorsman. When I’m not at a desk I’m most likely outside playing disc golf, biking, fishing, hiking, or simply daydreaming. That kind of stuff. If I’m not doing that then I’m most likely in the kitchen whipping up a meal or tinkering with some sort of project. You’ll never find me sitting still.

What is your favorite show you’re watching right now?
My wife and I actually just cancelled our Netflix for awhile because we’ve been binging too much. However, The Office is my all time favorite show and I’ll challenge anyone to its trivia.

What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
I just finished reading John Muir’s dairy, "My First Summer In The Sierras". It was a beautiful descriptive & poetic read, and has me yearning to visit Yosemite again.

What is a common creative block for you and how do you get unstuck?
I get fixated with one idea and can’t let it go. I end up overworking single concept to death until realizing it’s not the right answer. The best way to overcome the is by walking away and disconnecting from it completely. Wether it being meditation or going out for a walk. Distance brings a fresh perspective and with that comes clarity. Clarity about whether it is working or not. When I return I find new ideas come to mind that were previously in my blind spots.

Outside of design, what do you do that inspires your creative pursuit?
My mind rarely sits still and seems to always be curious about something. My curiosity is what really drives me. So I’m always observing my surroundings taking mental notes or even pictures with my phone to reference later. You can find me at thrift stores looking through piles of stuff trying to find old packaging or branding that catches my eye.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Definitely an early bird. 

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