Thursday, February 09, 2017 - Updated: 9:20 AMThanks to a Star Wars drawing contest, two people from two very different worlds met and eventually became partners in the digital art industry. Later this year they are set to become partners in life.
Digital artists, Wil Woods and Tyrine Carver, reside in the hospital addition and are owners of MuseTap Studios. They spend their time researching trends and digitally creating pop art that is becoming known worldwide all the while building a life together from right here in Metropolis.
Tyrine, who was born Jenny Wang, moved with her parents to the United States from China when she was seven years old. Carver says when they first moved to California, they were poor lived in Los Angeles for awhile. Her mother eventually became a nurse and her father became a bio engineer who owns his own company in China, with plans to set up a branch in San Diego.
She said when she was younger she enjoyed the art classes she had in school but when deciding on a career, she opted for a more practical career in the field of graphic design. She attended the University of California San Diego majoring in economics and also studying computer programming as a minor.
Wil is originally from this area but when he was about four he moved with his family to Chicago. At the age of eight, they returned to the Brookport area, where he went to school until he was in high school. He graduated high school from Henderson, Kentucky. After having lived away from the area, he moved back to Metropolis in 1998.
He also said he had taken some art classes in school when he was younger and enjoyed them but had not planned to become an artist.
His first convention selling his own artwork was in 2008 when he attended one of the Metropolis Comic Conventions with only five prints to sell.
When Wil first began his work as a digital artist, he was living on Butler Street in a mobile home and loaded up his Dodge Neon to travel to the smaller, local comic book conventions.
In 2008 Woods and Carver both entered a Star Wars drawing competition which entailed coming up with a character that would fit into the Star Wars genre. Woods had entered a male sith and Carver had created a female sith.
Carver pointed out typically when people leave comments on artwork they are typically short, one-word comments. But, Woods, who had viewed Carver’s character, commented with: “Sleek character design.”
“That was so specific,” said Tyrine, who then went to Wils’ profile to see his design and find out more about him. She messaged him back and as they say, the rest is history.
Some e-mail messages led to more correspondence through the Internet and on the telephone. Even before they met, they had a few “Internet dates,” which in those days mainly consisted of starting a movie at the same time on their laptops and instant messaging while they watched it together.
Six months after they had been corresponding, Wil was on a plane to California to meet Tyrine in person. Tyrine said she was going to “play it cool,” at the airport, but when Wil saw her, he hugged her and the whole playing it cool went out the window.
“I think we both knew each other was ‘the one,’ because of how well we got along. Wil was quicker to realize his feelings since I was a pretty closed off individual when I was younger, but it was just that sense of serenity that we felt around each other that locked us in,” said Tyrine.
According to Tyrine, she and Wil are both individualistic and like their own space. “Which doesn’t sound like the basis for a great partnership. But when you find someone you’re meant to be with, it doesn’t feel like someone else is invading your space. It just feels like home,” she said.
They dated long-distance from that time until 2011, when Tyrine moved to Metropolis. With Tyrine’s background in economics they were able to save up enough money to purchase their current home, which doubles as their creative hub.
The basement, which they refer to as their “nerd cave,” has an office where they both have access to a computer screen to create their drawings. Tyrine also has a hand-held computer screen she uses. Typically Wil says he is the early riser and will go to their studio to work on art. Tyrine says she usually will go to the studio in the afternoons to work. Their studio is surrounded by numerous video games. Their library, which is located in the other half of their finished basement, consists of video games, DVDs of many different movies.
Both Wil and Tyrine research what is trending online and will often get their artistic inspiration from that. Their canvass is a computer screen and each piece of artwork is drawn in digital form and then converted into jpeg images.
“We’ve made a name for ourselves up until now as pop culture artists,” said Carver. According to the pair, they have displayed in conventions all across the U.S. from the Los Angeles Anime Expo to Chicago Comic-Con and we have just recently published their own original works.
In 2011, the pair went to around 43 comic conventions per year, which Wil said equated to being going 43 weekends out of the year. Nowadays, they have scaled back on the number of conventions they attend.
Wil and Tyrine say they have been doing more commissioned artwork pieces. They both enjoy creating pop art as well as commissioned pieces, but they both say their more immediate goal is to grow their business and artwork and become known for their original pieces.
“A lot of people will get tired of someone if they work together and play together, but we are genuinely best friends. Since we got to know each other online, through letters and texts before we ever saw each others’ faces, we developed an unbreakable friendship in addition to our romantic and professional partnership,” said Tyrine.
Just a small sampling of their most noteable and recognizable work that has been circulating on the Internet for awhile includes:
• Deathstar Reflections: http://dvqlxo2m2q99q.cloudfront.net/000_clients/217758/page/21775814294HRH4.jpg
• The Dead Knight Rises: http://dvqlxo2m2q99q.cloudfront.net/000_clients/217758/page/21775814294Eyal.jpg Avatar: The Last
• Airbender: https://dkemhji6i1k0x.cloudfront.net/000_clients/217758/page/21775815291CyMD.jpg
• Steven Universe: Giant Woman Kaiju Fight - http://dkemhji6i1k0x.cloudfront.net/000_clients/217758/page/217758WTTwo5kx.jpg
Carver has just released a new illustrated novel called The Paper Terminal, an urban fantasy about a high school girl who accidentally meets the Guardian of Stories and gets taken along for a ride through many different magical worlds, meeting a variety of dangerous and enchanting mythical creatures along the way. She says the novel is suitable for teens and older.
Wil has recently released his first fully original comic book, 8-Bit, which is a sci-fi, “slice-of-life,” about a has been gamer girl from the 80s who finds herself drawn back into the world of competitive video games through alien intervention. He says this work is suitable for all audiences. A sample can be found at MuseTapStudios.com/8-bit.
Wil proposed to Tyrine on a cruise ship when they were on vacation with friends. This October, Woods and Carver plan to marry at the Carson Center in Paducah. Tyrine says they have a lot of friends who are into costume play and they have told their friends to feel free to come in costume.
For more information about MuseTap Studios, individuals may contact Woods or Carver at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also on several social media platforms: musetapstudios.deviantart.com; www.twitter.com/musetap; www.facebook.com/MuseTapStudios; instagram.com/musetapstudios; pinterest.com/Musetap.