“Artists Are the Chaser For The Bitterness We Are Confronted With In Our Lives”
A conversation with cruisey stylist, surfer, and artist Ty Williams.
Ty Williams is one of the most casual operators you could care to meet. A breezy, bottomlessly creative character with a penchant for loose lines and bright colors, lighthearted imagery to take your mind off the difficult daily minutiae.
Splitting his time between Maine and Florida, Ty can be found bouncing around the globe working on projects in Japan, California, New York, and elsewhere, and with the release of Sea Life, his newest collaboration with our friends over at Slowtide, we were happy to hear what the lanky gent’s been getting his hands into.
: Can you tell us a bit about where you are from and how you got into art?
Ty: I’m from Maine, but spent some of my childhood in the Caribbean and Florida. The winters in Maine can be brutal and my parents were always bouncing around.
Both of my parents are very creative—in fact, far more so than I am. So, I didn’t have much choice but to draw or make stuff—because the TV being on wasn’t much of an option.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I love the past. Roots reggae, ’60s European design, the ocean, of course, Japanese culture, friends that are also involved in the creative world. So many people are too cagey to admit that we all are influencing each other, when I feel like it’s impossible to not be inspired or influenced by fellow artists. I’m fortunate to get to travel a fair bit and also have really creative peers, so I feel like this plays a huge role in my work.
How does surfing and beach culture relate to your work?
If I’m not sleeping or eating, chances are that I’m at the beach—or trying to be there in some capacity. I feel like the beach and its surrounding culture is where I feel the most healthy, and I tend to make more work when I feel good.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
Honestly, I think I’m really only trying to have a pleasant time and make some things that, not only I enjoy, but that others may enjoy as well. But at the same time, to not step on anyone’s toes too bad and be kind in the process. There are so many talented people in this world, making great visual stuff, that I just feel fortunate that I get to have a little place in it at all.
What role do artists have in society?
I think artists are the chaser for the bitterness we are confronted with in our lives, day-in, day-out. When I see a piece of art I enjoy, I get excited and often times lifted up in some way—because I tend to like simple colorful clean work—and that work tends to cut through the daily static I feel I experience in life.
“I think artists are the chaser for the bitterness we are confronted with in our lives, day-in, day-out.”
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my friends and family. Without my dad and mom being supportive of me, I would feel pretty lousy. I think family is important however you can get it—-I also have an overwhelming network of friends that I have to pinch myself about from time to time because of how talented and supportive they are. (Thanks everyone, x!)
You seem to travel a lot, is that helpful or challenging for making art?
It certainly helps. There is nothing more inspiring than sitting in a stuffy fart-filled airplane for a day—only to be released into another culture with a surfboard, maybe a camera or pen and paper, to clear the mind.
Advice to a younger artists thinking about pursuing the career?
Draw with your hands more. I know computers are super cool and easy, but they break down! It feels good to make stuff with your hands — save the computer for Netflix and surf cams.
Any tricks of the trade to share?
Smile and be kind. Nobody likes an asshole, at least not long term anyway.
Who is your current favorite artist?
I can’t pick
but I have always been a giant fan of Keith Haring. Not just because of his simple fun linework and little human images, but because of his ability to have social
commentary that is so accessible for everyone. Another would be my buddyKyle Field
). His work is extremely intricate and fun and I love getting lost looking at his drawings – he also can surf a soft top beautifully.
Any new projects that you are excited about?
For starters, I’m looking forward to lunch. But long-term I’m picking away at being an OK human, and making it to my next birthday.
If you’re in Southern California Thursday, stop bySlowtide
‘ release party for Ty, at Thalia Surf Shop, 915 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.
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