Photos courtesy of TY.
Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes - TY
If you live in New York, there’s no way you could miss seeing the colorful CLOUDZ by TY on your journeys. What you may not know is that the life of CLOUDZ’ creator Ty is as colorful as the art he creates. Hello! His name is TY and here’s a Q&A that will surely brighten your day.
According2G: Tell us a little about your background.
TY: I’m from a super suburban area in Houston, Texas and went to College at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX (between San Antonio and Austin). I had done tons of community theater since I was in 5th grade and I moved on to semi-professional throughout high-school. I landed my first professional show when I graduated college with a degree in Musical Theater. I packed my bags and headed to the big bad city as soon as I could and got cast in the off-off Broadway production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Since the show, I became a personal assistant, fell in love, had my heart broken and built myself back up again. With the help of my friends and the power of music, I overcame. So at this point, I’m pretty fucking unstoppable. I was obsessed with NYC the first time I visited at 18 years old. I knew then that this is where I definitely wanted to spend a good chunk of my time living. From a young age, I knew all I wanted to be was an artist. Whatever it meant, I wanted it. To create, paint, sculpt, act, draw, sing….it didn’t matter.
A2G: How did you get involved in Street Art?
TY: This might sound odd, but boredom. My senior year of college I was taking way too many theater/acting/performance classes on-top of being the main in musicals and it was driving me crazy. I was drained and needed to re-vamp my artistic outlook on the world. I needed a class to take that was far from the theater building. I’m an actor at heart, so naturally, I love attention. I thrive off of it – but I needed a new way to “perform.” I took a course in screen printing and fell in love with the art form. The professor was fantastic and he led me to access CLOUDZ. Once I had the idea of the creatures, I couldn’t stop dreaming and drawing. I found a package of “HELLO MY NAME IS…” stickers in my junk drawer and the rest is history. I started tagging my college and became known around town as TY, “….the guy who does those weird colorful stickers everywhere.”
A2G: Can you tell us a few of your heroes/influences?
TY: I’m inspired by so many things and people. RuPaul is a beacon of light to me. I can listen to Lady Gaga for hours and draw things that even I’m impressed by. I’m greatly affected by stimuli – somewhat of a chameleon - and she has a way with my 24 year old heart. Gaga speaks directly to me, to my electronic generation, and soothes me. I’m still influenced by the legacy of Andy Warhol – say what you want about him (he’s dead so it doesn’t matter) – but his work strikes a chord with me and I seek it out. Keith Haring is also a go-to inspiration for me when I need it. I have a massive book of his that is a bible of sorts to me. I’m a big fan of art for the sake of art. Both Haring and Warhol pin it down more perfectly than I could:
HARING: “Nothing is important… so everything is important.”
WARHOL: An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he – for some reason – thinks it would be a good idea to give them:
TY (continued): Nobody NEEDED that ugly ass Mona Lisa, but he, for some reason, painted it, thought it would be a good idea, and look what happened. I have faith in art. *OH and my biggest inspiration of all mighttttttttt just be LISA FRANK. Sorry not sorry.
A2G: What’s the coolest thing to happen to you as a result of your art?
: My inclusion into “The History of Queer Street Art” – my first gallery show. I was contacted by Los Angeles street artist, HOMO RIOT
to submit some work for a collective-art show with street art from LGBTQ street artists around the world. I was asked to submit my stickers based on some of my work he’d seen on the streets of Soho in New York City. I submitted and was accepted. I flew out to California for the first time and had an incredible trip. I’m looking for a spot to put together something in NYC.
A2G: Is street art a crime?
TY: According to who? Who gave ANYBODY the right to put a billboard for a Chinese bank in front of my apartment window? When someone can tell me why they are allowed to do that, then I will stop putting up CLOUDZ on any available space I can find. People rape my eyes every day with relentless ads for trash. This is just my way of saying “I’M HERE TOO, I WAS HERE, I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE, DONT FORGET ME!” Cavemen drew on their walls before they could tweet. It’s an incredible piece of human nature, to grab a a crayon and destroy your wall. Mom might be mad, but don’t forget how it felt to do it. I get that renegade/pirate feeling everyday. It’s beautiful and terrifying.
Keith Vs. TY
A2G: How has your sexuality affected your art?
TY: Being gay gave me some sort of “permission” to take the rainbow and do anything I want with it. The rainbow is actually my favorite color. I can be pretty selfish at times, so I’ll say yea, I don’t want to just pick ONE color to love. I love the way they all look, standing side by side one another. I often have characters either eating or throwing up rainbows, as a shorthand way of showing a sense of pride. For example, a little character throwing up a rainbow assortment of liquid may be a way to me getting out some anger on someone that day. The things I feel don’t just sit in me. I don’t have to cry to a therapist. I can just draw that shit out. The ideas and emotions - they’re overflowing, shooting, bubbling and dripping out of me and out of my art. Jackson Pollack, who I actually REALLY dislike, says “DRAW WHAT YOU ARE” and that really, really spoke to me. So I do. I draw what I am. I draw the way I see myself.
A2G: Do you keep your street life and your professional life separate?
TY: No, I’m a living artist. I live through the CLOUDZ. They give me strength – I rely on them, they rely on me. I couldn’t separate it if I tried.
Bonjour! Je m'appelle TY
A2G: What are some of your favorite movies, TV Shows and music?
TY: Movies: Hocus Pocus, Showgirls, Mommie Dearest, Moulin Rouge, Contact, The Island, Breakfast on Pluto, Happy Endings, Return To OZ, Beetlejuice, The Craft, Exit Through The Gift Shop TV Shows: DRAG RACE, The Comeback, WEEDS, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys, Arrested Developement, True Blood, US of Tara, Web Therapy, American Pickers (shh), The Office, MadMen, Parks & Recreation #TreatYOSELF Music: GAGA, DaftPunk, Bassnectar, David Guetta, Kesha, PrettyLights, Skrillex, RATATAT, GirlTalk, The Killers, Deadmau5, Skrillex, Elton John, Billy Joel, AIR, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, Patsy Cline, Lily Allen.
A2G: What’s a quote you live by?
TY: “If you can’t learn to love yourself, how in the hell you gonna learn to love somebody else? Can I get an AMEN?” – RuPaul
A2G: What’s the message of your art?
TY: In my colorful, happily narcissistic mind, CLOUDZ are like The Social Network: so cool, so new, so fresh that to give it a name or purpose it would ruin it. It’s growing and changing as often as I do. I’m just gonna let it evolve with me and live its own life.
Would you like fries with that?
A2G: Any close calls?
TY: EEEEeeeeeeek. YES. Undercover NYPD are watching. Beware.
A2G: Do you have any rituals for putting up art?
TY: Just that they be colored. I do NOT put up work in black and white. HOW. GHASTLY.
A2G: What is the best spot to find CLOUDZ in New York City?
TY: West Village, Washington Square Park area. SOHO.
Skate or TY!
A2G: Any plans for expansion into other cities, galleries?
TY: YES. The feeling I got in Los Angeles standing next to gallery patrons staring at my art was incredible. The atmosphere was loving and the sense of community was very high. It was amazing to consider that more people would come through for the duration of the month and STARE at my art, maybe make a small comment, and walk away back to their life. I feel like when I put up a sticker, I put it up with a small prayer that someone, anyone, would notice it. We all want to be noticed.
from "A History Of Queer Street Art"
A2G: What does the future hold for you?
: TRAVEL. TRAVEL. TRAVEL. I recently traveled to Venice Beach, CA for a week and had a great time. I definitely want to adventure my way round the USA for awhile and slap up some cool towns. If you live somewhere high-traffic and fun, let me know! I’m dying to spread the word anywhere I can. I spent hours on the boardwalk in Venice talking to tons of random surfers, skateboarders & burn-out stoners/bikers about my CLOUDZ. They were so nice, immediately taking stickers and slapping them on skateboards, CARS, their bicycles, rollerblades, bongs etc. I felt like a door to door salesman – but the stories and support these crazy people had, I’ll never forget. Also, I’m working with the UK-based recording studio House of Strange
to design their logo. I’m very excited!
Visit www.HelloMyNameisTy.com for more photos!
Thanks again TY for an informative and interesting look into your life. TY’s future is as bright as his art and we certainly wish him the very best! If you tweet photos of his art, be sure to tag them with #CLOUDZbyTY. Stay up and stay colorful!