The St. Augustine Issue

Tropicalia:
The Art of Ty Williams

In addition to being an exceptionally creative and inspiring artist, Ty is a dear friend. It has been a real treat to watch his style mature and evolve over the years as he has navigated through different mediums and subject matter. He seems to have truly hit a unique stride with his latest body of work that he has been pumping out ever since he settled in St. Augustine, Florida a few years ago. The following is a sampling of his painted canvases, mural work and a brief interview with Ty that we featured in our Indoek St. Augustine issue. Enjoy.

How would you describe your latest body of work?

I have been describing them as shapes in the sand — similar to a zen garden maybe. I like it being simple and pleasant to be around; that’s what I hope for anyway.

Where do you draw inspiration for in your work?

I primarily get ideas while traveling. Japanese culture is a huge source of inspiration for me, but I also love old books and magazines. I’m always trying to doodle little notes or take photos of things I like when I’m on the road.

As someone who has travelled all around the world, why did you decide to plant roots in St. Augustine?

I went to college in St. Augustine a few years ago, many of my friends are from here and have begun to start families here. I have lived in cities and enjoy certain parts of it, but I also love the small community aspect here. The ability to cook dinners with friends, surf little waves, and ultimately never have to stress all that much is pretty inviting. I like how I can participate as much or as little as I want. I can leave and travel for six months and come back and it’s not a big deal. I love my little crew here and all the talent here.

What is your creative process?

My creative process is pretty unorthodox, I may paint 20 paintings in a couple months and then not paint for 3 months, or I may only draw a little for a while. If I were to set a schedule up, I feel like I wouldn’t make as much as I do this way. The creative dry spells lead to some insane creative “dumps,” and it’s in those times I get really excited and want to make things. I feel like I never hear someone say that sometimes they don’t want to make stuff and just want to cruise for a bit or to be left alone, but I do and it’s in those times that I feel like I get to regenerate and look forward to being in my studio making stuff and doing it for myself.

Where are some of the most interesting places you’ve painted murals?

Sri Lanka was awesome. Tokyo, Japan. Sydney, Australia. Andros, Greece.

Rama McCabe
Mitch Fong
Mitch Fong
Mitch Fong

What do you want people to know about Florida?

Florida has much more to it than close-minded politicians, elderly people, bizarre tragic headlines, and amusement parks. It has the most gorgeous springs and it is relatively affordable — and affordable for young people to start creative businesses. There’s occasional surf, beautiful beaches, and it’s a short flight to the Caribbean or Central America.

What’s your favorite thing about St. Augustine?

I love the people and I love the quality of life. It’s a classic little beach town. Like anywhere, it’s seeing its fair share of investors and growth, but there are still little secret pockets that keep me here.

What are the best hidden gems in town?

I love the parks here, and I feel like lots of people don’t see them when they visit. Anastasia State Park is gorgeous. I also love Hornski’s — grab a beer or a La Croix and pick out some records and Rob will play them for you; there is also skeeball.

Favorite fruit and vegetable?

Favorite fruit is a fresh mango, it cannot be beat. My favorite vegetable would be a potato because mashed potatoes are my favorite food… Maybe potatoes aren’t a veggie? I guess avocado then, but that’s a fruit…

What about your favorite fish to eat — and to look at?

My favorite fish to eat would probably be ahi tuna or fresh mahi. My favorite fish to look at (from a distance) is a shark, they are mesmerizing to watch move through the water.

What is your Fountain of Youth?

Surfing — or at least being in the ocean in some capacity. Being in, on, or around the water strips away a lot of the muck I accumulate in my day to day.

Favorite quote?

“This Too Shall Pass” — My Dad

Julien Roubinet

This article was originally published in our St. Augustine issue and was made possible with the support of  Vans, Design Within Reach, and Flexfit.

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Matt Titone

A goofy-footed graphic designer who hails from the first state, Delaware. After attending Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL then graduating from SCAD in Savannah, GA with a BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration, Matt moved to NYC and found work as a freelance designer and art director. In 2006 he moved west to Venice, CA where he co-founded ITAL/C Studio, constantly seeks left hand point breaks, and tries very hard to avoid crowds & traffic.

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