1xRUN Thru Interview
“Pretty Wise” & “Chappie” by Tyler B Murphy
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about these two pieces, are the originals still for sale?
Tyler B Murphy: The piece of Ninja represents a moment of intense commitment. It is referenced from a photograph that I took of him just before I tattooed the numbers 1 6 on his face. It is the calm unspoken genius that I have had the privilege to witness. The piece of Yo-Landie represents the outward, publicly glamorous celebration of our culture. It was referenced from a photograph that I took of her just after I hand-poked Chappie the chipmunk on her arm. Faith 47 has the originals, I traded them for her help in getting this project off the ground.
1xRun: Were these pieces part of a recent show?
Tyler B Murphy: We put on an art show called Insider Art, at my tattoo shop in November 2013. All the tattooers at the shop made works for the show and we emptied out the shop for a day. We had a big party outside in the back by the spine ramp. I made the Ninja piece for that day. I re-worked the original for this project after my friend Andrew Putter pointed out that fact that one side needed more black. There are still a few prints around of the first silk-screened version. The Yo-Landie piece was made for this project after you guys suggested that it would complete the set.
1xRun: What materials did you use?
Tyler B Murphy: I drew these onto white paper using a fine felt-tip pen, full of water-proof ink. The prints are letter-pressed onto a nice thick paper that I have not got my hands on yet, but I trust that it is great.
1xRun: When were the original pieces drawn?
Tyler B Murphy: I started them both a while ago, but the versions you will see coming out now were made during 2014.
1xRun: Anything Immediate that you would like us to highlight?
Tyler B Murphy: I am busy being interview by Houghton Kinsman for the online version of Dazed & Confused.
I am getting to write long answers to some great questions. I have known Houghton for a while and he really understands the culture that we are only now getting a name for and feeling properly connected to.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Tyler B Murphy: My uncle bought me a book printed in 1945, called Line Drawing For Reproduction. Right near the back on the second to last page is a scraper board illustration that was done by W.G. Easton. It is an image of a Fisherman in his full fishing outfit, ready for a storm. It’s a superb piece of work that I keep near me whenever I draw in this style. It is the measure of excellence. The idea to use the images of Ninja and Yo-Landie balances between two things. One is me, being a staunch supporter and friend, the other is their obvious popular appeal. Which I often feel conflicted about tapping into for my own personal gain. I got the blessing from Ninja for this project, which eases my mind.
1xRun: How long did these pieces take?
Tyler B Murphy: It takes really long to draw in this style. I do everything by hand, nothing is digital
up until the final image gets scanned. I try not to time myself. It would likely put me off ever starting another one.
1xRun: What is unique about each of these pieces?
Tyler B Murphy: I use my own photographs as references. It helps tip the scale from being a very mathematical experience to being a more artistic pursuit.
1xRun: Why should people buy one of these prints?
Tyler B Murphy: People should not buy one of these prints. They should buy two of each. One set to keep, the other to sell when I reach the Fisherman measure of excellence and we can all make that ” Barbecue-Humans-on-The-Moon Money”
1xRun: Describe these two pieces in one gut reaction.
Tyler B Murphy: “Dis ‘n Gevaarlike tjap my Bru.” It is often said on the streets of Cape Town,
by homeless Afrikaans speaking criminals. It is uttered in hushed tones as a show of appreciation upon seeing a tattoo that they deem worthy.
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Tyler B Murphy: I have always drawn as kids do, but I started writing graffiti in 1994.
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Tyler B Murphy: The first piece of graffiti that I made said “New School” in fairly large letters across the back wall of a bowl at the local skate park. It was around the time that I saw the Plan B questionable skate video. The crew was thinning out and loads of skaters had quit. It was the time that the divide happened, some of us were going to get down with the changes in society and others were going to get bummed out. It was the first year of democracy, the year the internet went live, Mandela had been out of prison for four years and had been voted in as State President. It was a great time to be a criminal. And I took the gap.
1xRun: Which artist inspired you early on?
Tyler B Murphy: SEEN, UA
1xRun: Which artists inspire you now?
Tyler B Murphy: David Noellert, NOLA.
1xRun: What music do you listen to when you work?
Tyler B Murphy: Almost all the drawing I do for tattoos, or for artworks happens at the tattoo shop. During the day when everyone is there we have to struggle through each others strange choices. If I am alone and it’s up to me, I listen to many of the artists that are under the Alternative Tentacles record label. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots are among my favorites.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be?
Tyler B Murphy: I would like to do some big walls with my son Jack Fox, he is very active in the Woodstock artist district nowadays. I think if my plans to start getting my head around using a brush materialize, he might be keen to let me in on some projects. I really like they way he creates characters straight out of his head onto the wall or page first time in black, nothing is sketched out, or touched up. I also long to break out of my way of working that I use for tattooing. My tattoo drawing are always referenced against real life objects and constantly consider the constraints and norms of the style that I am tattooing. My son’s work is really freed-up, it would be a breath of fresh air if some of that rubbed off on me whilst working with him.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artist who would it be?
Tyler B Murphy: I am tempted to say an Old-Time Tattooer, but I worry that they might be weird in person. It would take away from the experience if they were bitter, racist and war-weary.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought?
Tyler B Murphy: I like the idea of selling art, but I am not that good at buying art. I have a collection of art that has been gifted to me along the way. I like giving away works when I feel that I have liked them as much as I can and it makes sense that someone else gets a chance after me.
1xRun: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Tyler B Murphy: My girlfriend bought a piece from an ex-prisoner at a show the other day. It is a pen-on-paper piece that describes his family’s daily ordeal. His sister is the victim of an on-going demonic possession that has lasted years. In the picture his mother cries while The Devil tortures his inflamed sibling who is burdened with
a huge cross. I nearly bought a piece from the artist’s fellow inmate, but arranged instead to make a trade for tattoos. Cash is king, but tattoos are sometimes better.