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KCFD firefighter still finds time for his passion: art

KCFD Firefighter Artist
Posted at 5:07 AM, Mar 06, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sean Tiller knew he was an artist from a young age. Growing up, he was influenced by his mother, who he said was also an artist.

When it came time to find a career, Tiller chose to become a first responder as a Kansas City Fire Department firefighter and EMT. However, he was sure note to push his art to the side.

Tiller said he came onto the job knowing he was also an artist. Today, he still finds time to paint on his days off, saying the department is extremely supportive of his passion.

"Luckily enough people here at the fire department support my art, ask about it and embrace it and stuff like that. So it's been nice to be in an environment where like, they like me being an artist and like me having a skill set and hobbies outside of the job," Tiller said.

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Tiller paints celestial-inspired art. He said he doesn't draw inspiration from NASA pictures of planets but instead from the colors in his head that he wants to incorporate. He uses spray paint and acrylic on canvas. You'll know it is one of his pieces if there is his signature triangle over the planet.

Tiller acknowledged that his job and interests aren't a common pairing.

"I definitely get it from firemen some firemen are like 'oh you paint?' and I show them and they kinda get surprised," Tiller said. "When I do shows or I go to different festivals and they find that I'm a full-time fireman they're like 'oh, that's awesome.' It doesn't really go hand in hand but I like to be that connective thing that allows people to see that it is possible."

He has done shows like First Fridays and The Black Archives. He wants to get his own studio space someday to grow his capabilities.

You can follow Tiller on Instagram at @artbysean_tiller. He also paints custom shoes.