Tyler Swain: Opposing Forces


Tyler Swain is a talented painter and graduated from Utah State University. Swain writes, “My paintings represent an allegory for the human experience which encompasses trials, pain, truth, hope, and love. Our world is often cold and unforgiving, but there is always beauty and purpose to be found.” He currently lives with his family in Utah.

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You’re described your work as ‘contemporary realism’. Explain. Mostly I just got tired of trying to answer the question ‘What kind of art do you do?’ So I had to just start giving a short-hand label to keep things simple. I paint representational, which most people seem to connect with realism – with a fresh twist on traditional styles. Hence ‘contemporary realism’.

You once said, “My aim is to pay homage to the divine beauty around us.” Talk about your subject matter. My subject matter is both ordinary and sublime. Sometimes it is the every-day, sometimes overlooked things that can teach us the most. One of our main problems I think we face in today’s world is being so fast paced and materialistic that we stop seeing the miraculous things around us. I feel that there is enough negativity and controversy circulating the planet, and I just want to remind myself and others that life is still beautiful.


You were moved by the Church’s International Art Competition three years ago. This time around your work will be included in the exhibit. Talk about the experience and the painting you submitted. There have been several very pivotal moments in my artistic development thus far, and the International Art Competition three years ago was definitely one of them. It was a show that made me want to inspire and uplift others with my own art. I feel that all true beauty touches the human soul, and therefore is spiritual. For my submission I chose to paint a section of the purple robe that was placed on Christ’s shoulders as he was mocked. The robe is knotted to symbolize the agony and tension of the experience, yet elegantly presented to show the majesty of the Savior’s poise through it all. I rarely paint with a very specific narrative such as this, but this part of the New Testament has always struck an emotional chord with me, and seemed fitting for the theme “Tell me the stories of Jesus”.

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