Brenna Tyler with one of her horse sculptures. Many of her sculptures are made from a variety of materials, including tree trunks, sagebrush, metal and glass.
Brenna Tyler of Union is an award-winning sculptor and oil painter, one with a growing national reputation.
Still, humility sometimes gets the best of Tyler.
She never considered herself a true artist, at least not until recently when the sculptor and painter found herself answering questions she is not accustomed to fielding.
One of these occasions was in October when she was being interviewed for a segment on Oregon Art Beat, one set to air at 8 p.m. Thursday on Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Tyler was asked many things about herself and her craft. Queries that called for introspective answers, ones that proved eye-opening for Tyler.
“I learned a lot about myself,’’ Tyler said. “It has made me reflect on the purpose of my art.’’
Tyler said that previously “I always thought of myself as someone who just loves to make stuff, but reflecting on my art’s journey convinces me that I really am an artist.”
The sculptures Tyler makes are limited edition bronzes and “one-of-a-kind sculptures.’’ The latter are made from a variety of materials, including tree trunks, sagebrush, metal and glass. Members of the Oregon Art Beat crew spent a considerable amount of time following Tyler on her family’s ranch in Union as she showed them how she collects materials for her sculptures.
“I felt honored that they were so curious about my art.’’
Oregon Art Beat contacted Tyler after she had a successful exhibit in Portland in October, one that caught the attention of a New York gallery who has invited her to give an exhibit there in the future.
The world is finding out what people in Northeast Oregon have known for years. Tyler’s abilities are well known here, for she grew up in Union and is a 1997 graduate of Union High School. She later earned a degree in art from EOU after attending the University of Oregon.
Tyler came to Union from South Korea, where she was born in 1979. Her mother gave her to an orphanage when she was less than a year old. She was soon adopted by Barbara and Duane Tyler of Union
Today, Brenna Tyler credits her parents with playing an enormous role in her development as an artist.
“My mom has always been nurturing and has encouraged me since I was little, challenging me to face my fears, finish what I start and grow. She always believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. My dad has never let me get discouraged about my capabilities in relation to the construction of my art,’’ Tyler said.
She said she has a love of power tools because of her father.
“He is always there to brainstorm ideas and teach me about the tools that would be helpful, assist me when I need four hands and believe in my vision whether it be done welding or with a chain saw,’’ Tyler said.
The artist also credits her husband, Jake Kimbro, with playing a key role in helping her.
“Jake is my best critic, my best friend and amazes me with his daily support,’’ Tyler said.
Tyler also draws inspiration from her 7-year-old son, Connor Kimbro.
“He inspires me to be a better person and I want to live my life to it’s potential for him. I want my present impact to benefit him, his generation, and the future when I am gone.’’
Tyler said that the foundries and galleries that have and are scheduled to show her works have also been critical to her development. They include Blue Mountain Fine Art Bronze Foundry in Baker City, Valley Bronze in Joseph, Primary Elements Gallery in Cannon Beach, Valley Bronze of Oregon Fine Art Gallery in Joseph, Sacred Dancing Gallery in Bigfork, Mont., Western Masters Fine Art Exhibition in Great Falls, Mont., and Beartooth Gallery in Red Lodge, Mont.
The Oregon Art Beat segment Tyler will appear on will be broadcast Sunday as part of a program that begins at 6 p.m.
Tyler is excited about seeing the upcoming broadcast, but is also a bit anxious because she spoke from the heart at times.
“I shared a lot of things that were very personal.’’
A short preview of this week’s Oregon Art Beat program appears on OPB’s website, www.opb.org. The preview includes a piece about the feature on Tyler, which states in part: “Brenna’s humility and gratitude give her work exceptional power and resonance.’’
Oregon Art Beat is now in its 13th season.