Q+A With Ty Williams

We had a chat with Florida bred surfer, visual artist and funniest guy we know, Ty Williams. Ty's work is a reminder to all of us to not take life too seriously. And indeed, it seems as though he's followed this same motto for his own life - bouncing between his hometowns in Florida and Maine, searching for surf in between, and meeting up with his many friends along the way.

How old are you? Where do you live? What do you do?
i am 31... i live between Florida and Maine but Im kind of around wherever -- I am a visual artist type person, and I wait tables on occasion.

How were you introduced to art?
My mother when I was very little - she showed me art books and pushed me to make things rather than to buy things.

When did you decide to make it your life?
Art and creating images has been an activity that has come in and out of my life all throughout, but it's not really until the last few years that I am now pushing to make it more of a full time gig and less of a side affair.

Do you spend more time on commercial assignments or personal work?
I spend more time creating for other people, however I do really try to blur the line of personal and commercial so that i can feel some enjoyment while doing it. If i can enjoy the project, even if its for something commercial, I feel like the final product is that much better (that's kind of obvious).

Does your work reflect your personality?
My work reflects aspects of my personality certainly, but I also feel like my stuff looks kind of chill and cruisey and that is more of something I "aspire" to have in my life because naturally im kind of anxious and spastic.....so maybe it's kind of a battle.

Where do you find inspiration?
I love old books/magazines/childrens books/reggae and world music records/old stuff - I take inspiration from my environment whether that's in front of my computer or walking around crap thats washed up on the beach.

What artists influence you?
I love primitive art -- tropical stuff -- but of course I love Matisse and grew up loving skate graphics done by Neil Blender, and Mark Gonz etc. etc. because thats what I saw in the mags I was reading.

Did you grow up surfing?
I started off skating and then began surfing around 11... kind of late. Ironically on a super thin thruster, not the ideal beginner board - I dont know how I stuck with it but I did.

Is your work more spontaneous or is it planned out in advance?
Not a whole lot of planning goes into my personal work I definitely have rough ideas but I'm not very organized - that can be a good thing sometimes.

Is there anyone in the surf community who influences you?
The people that influence me in the surf community I also have been able to meet over the years which is kind of nuts - i would definitely say I'm inspired by Derek Hynd and his energy, Andrew Kidman, Jack Coleman, Andy davis, Joel tudor -- Kenny Hurtado of course, Kyle Field, there are a ton and I suppose it would look insane to list any more.

What does minimalist mean to you?
Having what you need, it being beautiful, and that being enough.

Did you go to an Art School?
i didn't, i went to a Liberal Arts college and dabbled in it - but it's been a lot of trial and error -- and I'm still working through lots of what I want with my work creatively - I am all over the spectrum.

Any words of advice for someone wanting to pursue a creative life?
Make tons of stuff/don't second guess constantly whether or not it is good - because that is how you will limit yourself. And work on the side so you are able to buy groceries....

Instagram / @tywillyums

Interview by Kenny Hurtado