By Mary Jantsch
Class of 2013
SPOKANE, Wash. – Setting his brick-weight biology text on his desk, freshman Tyler Jacobson rose and followed the sounds of laughter echoing through his side of the Catherine-Monica residence hall. He knew where the laughs were coming from and, like many times before, he followed the sound to the room of fellow freshman and friend, Joe Bereta. There he found Bereta with friend Luke Barats and the three sat down to retell the stories from their day, unaware of the future successes each would find.
Fast-forward 11 years, Jacobson, Barats and Bereta continue to make Gonzaga proud by following their passions. Barats and Bereta have made their mark creating digital online short videos that have gained more than 100 million views and remain one of YouTube’s most subscribed channels. For Jacobson, however, the route to success wasn’t always so clear. As a freshman in 2001, Jacobson began his Gonzaga studies as a biology major. After realizing a science career was not for him, Jacobson says he returned to what he was “most passionate about.”
“I took a broad spectrum of art classes while at Gonzaga,” Jacobson said. “They gave me a nice foundation for my future.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in art from Gonzaga in 2005, Jacobson headed south to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he would fine-tune that broad spectrum and focus on illustration.
“Telling stories is what excites me most about my work,” Jacobson said. “You get a really neat opportunity to do that through illustration. I’m also drawn to illustration for the problem-solving aspect” inherent in dramatic stories.
Currently Jacobson works in oil and digital mediums, sometimes combining the two. His true passion lies in illustrating science fiction and fantasy and he recently received the New England Science Fiction Association’s Jack Gaughan Award for Best Emerging Artist.
View some of Jacobson’s illustrations in this video:
In 2009, Jacobson received his Master of Fine Arts degree in illustration and at his senior exhibit was approached by Richard Solomon of Richard Solomon Artists Representative. Jacobson was both shocked and ecstatic to begin working with Solomon, an agent who has been supporting award-winning illustrators for 28 years. Since their collaboration, Jacobson has worked with NBC, Rolling Stone Magazine, Toyota, Men’s Journal, Scientific American, Texas Monthly, The Weekly Standard, Dungeons and Dragons, The Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster.
In addition, Jacobson collaborated once again with Barats and Bereta. No longer was he holding the video camera or standing in as an extra for his college friends; this time around, he illustrated cartoons for their pilot with NBC.
Today, Jacobson lives in Renton, Wash., with his wife Devon Phelps, a 2006 Gonzaga alumna.