Today we’re joined by Ty Jordan. Ty is a wonderful young illustrator who is just starting out. He’s experimenting with a few different styles. He specializes in what he describes as a “trippy realistic style.” Ty is currently trying to make his drawings resemble monochromatic oil paintings. He’s a very passionate artist who has a great amount of enthusiasm as you’ll soon read. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’m currently writing a novel where two of the central characters are ace, but I won’t be done for a few months because it’s very complex. I’d love to get it published so you could read it! That’s all for my writing.
My art is usually very busy looking, but the style depends on my mood. I split my works into a main series of related pieces and “pastime scribbles,” which are basically anything I make that’s not in a series. The series I’m working on at the moment is called Illusions and its main goal is to show the viewer a distorted reality that has vaguely familiar things, while also being very disorienting. There’s usually no specific message that I’d want the viewer to get because I want them to come up with their own answers and not rely on one definitive answer. It tends to be that what you see in these drawings says more about you than it does about me. Since people will always come up with their own meaning for things even if the actual meaning is explained, I decided I’d have a little fun and not give a viable answer at all.
One quick mention before we’re off to the next segment: One of my drawings looks like it’s clearly supposed to be upside down but it’s actually not. It’s made that way specifically to irritate that human tendency to want things to be easy to understand and well aligned with everything else we see.
What inspires you?
This changed a bit over time. In the beginning I wanted to be good at drawing because one of my cousins is amazing at it and I always thought he was cool. Around middle school I wanted to be famous, then I wanted money, then I just wanted to get better. Recently my life’s been a storm of s…sauerkraut. I think about my life a lot and the impact I want to leave behind, so that finds its way into my art. Life’s been really stressful and it seems like nothing’s working, and that along with a lot of discouragement and berating really put a dent in my self-esteem. I’ve been in this rut for a few months where I have a really hard time wanting to draw and unfortunately I’m still there. In mine own life it feels like there’s no point in trying when I have so much opposition and nothing seems to be paying off, but I don’t do it for my own sake anymore. The knowledge that there are other people like me in situations like mine makes me want to keep trying with everything I’ve got. I dedicate my art to them. The people like me who are around right now, the kids of the next generation, and all the one’s I’ll never live to see; I’m doing this for them.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Whoops, I already answered some of this one! I’ve been drawing since I was four, which as long as I can remember. My drawings were terrible for a while, but I kept at it because I really enjoyed it. Like I said, seeing my cousin’s work made me want to take art seriously. Comic books definitely influenced my style, specifically any issue drawn by Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko!
Nerd tidbit: Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko both drew covers for Amazing Fantasy#15, but Kirby’s was the one used in 1962. Ditko’s cover was used as a limited variant for The Amazing Spiderman#700. Kirby also drew my favorite superhero: Black Panther)
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Funny you ask; there’s a character I put in most of my drawings called Peppermint Pete. He represents me and his location and actions in my drawings gives a glimpse into how I was feeling when I drew that piece. Bonus: my signature and handwriting are pretty cool.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
You’re good enough! Keep at it! You won’t be at 100% all the time, but that’s okay! Take breaks! Don’t push yourself too hard! Your physical and mental and physical health are more important than the art you’re making! You can’t make art if you’re not alive, so take good care of yourself! Be consistent with your work! Make art and post on your platform(s) it even if it seems like nobody cares about what you’re doing; do it for you! Stay true to yourself. Even though you won’t get as much fan-fare in the beginning, there’s no other feeling like people being interested in your work solely because it’s your vision!
Kiki’s Delivery Service is a movie that really helped me get motivated again. It’s a movie that artists should definitely see! I’d love to talk about it more, but that’s not what here for, is it?
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m asexual, but I’m cool with having sex. Some would say my pursuits are promiscuous, but that doesn’t invalidate my lack of sexual attraction. If someone told me I had to choose between sex and cheesecake, I wouldn’t even hesitate to give up sex for the rest of my life. As my romantic orientation — I’m not sure if I’m aromantic or not, but it’s not that big of a deal to me. Maybe I’ll figure it out one of these days.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
A few artists I’ve had to work around have been very ignorant about more things than asexuality and the LGBTQIA+ community. However, people generally know better than to try and say things that could get me upset. To put in short; I’m not the kind of the person it’d be a good idea to fight.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
I’ve heard the tired arguments of “sexual attraction is what makes us human”, “But you’re so good looking”, and “That’s not even real”. Apparently, since sexual attraction makes us human, I’ve transcended humanity a long time ago. As for the other ones, I don’t care. People will be ignorant from sunrise to sunset. Unfortunately, being black in the U.S means you’ll probably be fetishized at some point in your life. Sure, I don’t have it as bad as black women, but if I had a dollar for every time I’ve been fetishized, I’d have enough to pay for college and an apartment in New York. Seriously, can somebody set up that deal for me? I’m gonna get fetishized anyway, I’d at least like to be paid for the inconvenience.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
You’re valid. Whether you’re sex averse, you’re like me and it’s nice to you, or if your experience is anything in or outside of those bounds, you’re valid. Know who you are and trust in that; it’ll carry you through any storm. If you like the same sex and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you like the opposite sex and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you like men and women and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you like any gender and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you don’t subscribe to the idea of gender at all and you’re ace, you’re valid. If you’re ace, you’re valid. Not experiencing sexual attraction or very little is the only thing that it takes to be on the asexual spectrum. None of your other identities will obscure or invalidate your (a)sexuality. I wish you all the best in life!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
At the moment I just have a Tumblr: ty-jordan-ty. I’m working on a website right now, so whenever I have that up I’ll put a link in my description. I don’t have other forms of social media yet because I’m trying to focus more on my work rather than the platform I’d be using to present it. However, when I do get other forms of social media then I’ll also put that in my description.
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to go that route. See you around! I hope you have a spectacular day!
Thank you, Ty, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.