Former Operator of a DIY Punk Venue Finds His Place in the Art World

Tyler Spangler
Tyler Spangler
Courtesy of Tyler Spangler

Relocating to a 250 sq. ft. trailer on the beach in the Pacific Palisades, 29 year-old Tyler Spangler grew up on the coast of Orange County where he spent his days surfing the numbered streets in Newport and working at Jack's Surfshop. It wasn't until he'd graduated from Cal State Long Beach that he became the chamberlain of an illegal punk rock concert venue that foreshadowed a blossoming career as a graphic artist.

The clean-cut, Kurt Cobain look-alike from Huntington Beach began making moves when he befriended the young members of former punk band Joe's Garage. "[They] had trouble finding shows because they were under 21 and a lot of times [venues] make bands pay to play," Spangler says.

"They told me they liked playing a lot," he says. "It was kind of selfish of me because I just wanted to see them play more, so I told them I'd get them more shows."

Former Operator of a DIY Punk Venue Finds His Place in the Art World
Tyler Spangler

Scouring the rental ads on Craig's List, Spangler discovered a 200 square foot warehouse off the 22 fwy in Garden Grove. "I met up with the [landlord] and told him I was in a band and wanted to have band practice," he says. "I told him that I couldn't have it at my house anymore because the neighbors kept getting mad, so I needed the industrial space." Spangler offered three months worth of rent up front, derailing the landlords initial hesitations. And thus, A Place of Worship punk rock venue was born.

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After playing 13 rowdy shows in three weeks, the cops raided the venue and shut it down for good. And despite admitting responsibility, Spangler managed to wiggle free with a slap on the wrist. Although the illegal venue days are over, the OC native still lives with the same type of vivacity.

Finding inspiration among things like Sour Patch Kids candies, The Simpsons and surfing, the part time punk has evolved into a full time freelance artist. Spangler's wild art has caught the eyes of some major bands and fashion companies that have solidified his success. "Little Dragon randomly emailed me. I don't even know how they found me," he says. "But they asked me to do the stage back drop art for their tour. I didn't realize how big they were until I posed a picture on Facebook and everyone was like 'Holy shit dude! Little Dragon!' and I was like wow these guys are really popular."

Spangler's concert backdrop for Little Dragon
Spangler's concert backdrop for Little Dragon

And as of recently, you can also find Spangler's art on Volcom swim trunks. "I just did a Volcom trunk and they named it 'the Spangler'," he says, grinning from ear to ear. "It's been like 3 yrs in the making...When they told me they were going to make me a featured artist I was like 'holy shit!' I worship Volcom graphics."

As self-professed maximalist, Spangler's art is almost impossible to classify. To some he's a new wave Dadaist and to others his work is a genre-less hybrid between Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. Needless to say, the future is bright for the Orange County native.

See also: The 50 Best Things About the OC Music Scene The 50 Worst Things About the OC Music Scene The 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List

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