C California Style

Connor Tingley. Photography by JAMES MACKEL.

On the Move

by C California Style

Connor Tingley may be young, but he’s already lived nine lives

Untitled, 2015, in oil and charcoal.

After becoming inspired by a Pixar film at age 11, he was introduced to art instructor Sheldon Borenstein, who promptly asked to mentor the young Tingley. “‘You need to think bigger,’ he told me,” Tingley fondly recalls. “[He said,] ‘I want to teach you, and you’re going to digest and regurgitate in your own way.’”

The prodigy started sketching live models and studying classical painting in the Florentine style while studying with Borenstein. When he graduated from high school, he entered the Art Center College of Design but dropped out and started working for hip-hop artist Kid Ink, developing album covers and accessories and providing creative direction. Next thing he knew he was on Kanye West’s “Yeezus” tour. “It was a very hectic environment, but it was phenomenal,” he says. Collaborating with hairstylist Peter Savic, Vogue Italia fashion editor-at-large Patti Wilson and makeup artist and Nars founder François Nars has led to projects with L’Uomo Vogue and Marie Claire.

Connor Tingley in action.

But to Tingley, fine-art painting has always been home. Recently returned to his native Los Angeles from his first solo exhibition show in Bucharest, Tingley is now playing with industrial materials and “exploring how to bring light to art that I consider intuitive, like when you look up into the clouds and see a face.” And, of course, he is drawing a ton. “Drawing helps me review my reality and the idea that I can just observe and put it down on paper. I can then return whenever I need to and actually bring that idea to life.” @connortingley.

Photography by JAMES MACKEL.

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of C Magazine.