Meet Ty Clark...
Tell us a bit about how you got started and how your career has progressed.
I have always created. I was an interesting mix, to have played basketball and studied art in college on a basketball scholarship. After I was done playing basketball I always painted for fun with a small dream of doing it someday as a living. After years of working as a retail manager, graphic designer, art director, marketing director, missionary, entrepreneur, pr director, fashion designer, web commerce, crowd funding consultant, and a few other things! I have finally taken the leap to art full time. Over the last 4 months I have been applying to artist residencies all over the world and been accepted to a few in China, Hungary and France. I feel it is currently progressing in ways I have only dreamed about.
Artists dream of getting paid to do what they love. Can you share the moment when you finally got paid for a piece?
I remember the first big piece that I sold for a good amount of money. It was hilarious. I was so excited that I let the guy talk me down 50% from my asking price at the show. He paid cash, and absolutely loved it so it was worth it!
Where do you find the most inspiration?
The list is extremely long. I have been inspired by so many people in my 41 years of existence, on 5 continents while experiencing life and culture in 20 different countries living, serving, listening and learning. I guess my answer would be books, film, and my peers. I am an avid reader, observer, and I have never stopped educating myself in area’s around my art and creativity or ideas. I also love history, history of all things. I am currently working on a few films as well, one a collaboration with a good friend called “A Canvas of Sound” and another as a basketball consultant and associate producer about the history of the jump shot titled “History of the Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors Story”
Really a collaboration of ideas, cultures, experiences and the individuals below!
I am constantly inspired on many levels, and always looking for new or old inspiration. My influence and inspiration ranges from my Uncle Jiggs Pierson, Bill Catling, Basquiat, Warhol, Schnabel, Rothko, Frankenthaler, Craighead, Twombly, and Franz Kline, to Schaeffer, L’Engle , Bonhoeffer, Klosterman, Rilke, Stienbeck, Salinger, Kleon, Eggers and Muir, to Wes Anderson, Charlie Kaufman, Noah Baumbah, Julian Schnabel, Terrance Mallick, and Shane Carruth. As well as all of the people I have met, sipped coffee or a beer with, and engaged in deep conversations or prayer with around the globe.
Is there a common message that you wish your art to speak?
I think in every piece that I create has its own message, from myself to the viewer of the work and that message becomes intertwined between the two. In 2015 I have really focused on doing series of works that revolve around a focused message. I have been working on body of work that deals with “Healing Wounds”. This work brings to the table a discussion and observations about the similarities between emotional, physical, socio-economic and societies wounds.
Tell us about some of your career highlights or ‘pinch me’ moments?
I guess there are a few out there! My favorite moments are honestly behind the scenes, doing critiques in a garage or old classroom with my artist crews. Being with other artists and being able to critique each others work a rarity, it doesn't happen as often as it should. I had a fashion line a few years back and it got to a number of celebrities and ended up in Cosmo to E-News and Just Jared, it was really cool to see my art in large forums. But honestly, creating with my peers are discussing how to improve our craft, those moments mean more than any.
What is your favorite self produced piece?
There are a few recent pieces. Since going full time as a painter, I have been spending a heavy amount of time painting, learning and paying attention to how/why I do the things I do on canvas. Here are two pieces that I feel extremely proud of on many levels.
An Attempt to Breath- Acrylic, Oil Stick and Graphite on canvas 71x71”
Floating on Lead Waves- Acrylic, Oil Stick and Graphite on canvas 65x75”
Have you ever had ‘artist’s block’? If so tell us how you worked through it.
Absolutely! Artist’s block is real and it is really tough to overcome, especially with all of life's distractions. I have always practiced a multitude of creative genre’s and mediums. When I have a block in painting, I write and work on my books or read, if I have a block writing I shoot photos and watch films, I even used to mix and loop beats years ago. I am very fortunate to have the most amazing wife ever created, who has stuck with me the last 14 years as my creative idea’s are always flowing in interesting ways! The best way to overcome block in a particular field is to study, study, study! Study your peers, those from the past and present that influence you and have a commonality with your work.
What advice can you give to someone who wants to make his or her career an artist?
I talk with other artists about this all time. Artists are the ultimate entrepreneur. I have built a few businesses, raised capitol, been an Art Director, Marketing Director, done sales, managed teams, built brands etc etc. An artist has to master all of those things to be successful. You have to create the brand, do the marketing and sales, social media, graphic design, photo and video, PR and the whole time create the product and continue to improve. It is not easy. It takes time, patience and a lot of hours learning how to do all of the other things around creating art really well.
Do you believe an artist has a responsiblity?
Yes, I believe artists must be responsible with our gifting. My favorite quote by my favorite author Madeline L’Engle says “
“There is no denying that the artist is someone who is full of questions, who cries them out in great angst, who discovers the rainbow answers in darkness, and then rushes to canvas or paper. An artist is someone who cannot rest, who can never rest as long as there is one suffering person in this world. Along with Plato's divine madness there is also divine discontent, a longing to find the melody in the discords of chaos, the rhyme in the cacophony, the surprised smile in time of stress or strain. It is not that what is not enough, for it is; it is that what is had been disarranged, and is crying out to be in place. Perhaps the artist longs to sleep well every night; to eat anything without indigestion; to feel no moral qualms; to turn off the television news and make a sandwich after seeing the devastation and death caused by famine and drought and earthquake and flood. But the artist cannot manage this normalcy. Vision keeps breaking through, and must find means of expression.”
As artists we have a responsibility with these feelings, these questions, this wrestling of the soul. To create stories through our work that illuminate our world with the way we see, process, question and observe the world around us.
What does the word ‘freedom’ mean to you?
It sums up my life 100%. That I have ability to come and go anywhere in this world and interact with as many cultures that I want, and allow those people and cultures influence how I think, believe, live and create. I have been to 5 continents and lived, worked, and served in 20 different countries. These experiences have formed how I live. I have done a lot of things in my 41 years, from playing basketball to building businesses, to working with orphans and struggling communities, to hiking glaciers and climbing mountains, making films and creating art. I am more than thankful that I have the freedom to live as I choose.
What is your favorite quote?
There are a lot! But at the moment:
Andy Warhol- “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
I have this quote framed and hanging in my studio. I look at it every day.