In Some Ways Not So Much


People who declare themselves as “highly ethical” are wholly untrustworthy. They’re the ones to watch out for because they are trying to scam you out of your money, trying to have sex with you, just pathologically lying to you, or embarrassingly lying to themselves.

Anytime the word “ethics” comes up I pretty much leave the conversation. Like defending the gods it’s a pointless debate and a boring conversation. Haven’t we evolved past the point where we systematize, defend, and recommend concepts of right and wrong? Right and wrong; anchors on a scale. Fluid like water, or mercury. A forth dimension.

There are people I trust with my life, liberty, and property but I know they are not purely ethical. And that’s really good. How else could I trust someone if I don’t understand some of their truths. The same can be said about me. People trust me but I am not purely ethical. But I wear my real truths. I am flawed. But, more importantly, I understand the flaws of self and other.

We all exist somewhere on the aforementioned scale. But where we exist now may be very different from where we have or may someday. Internally, we may change our precepts (for whatever reason) vis-à-vis right and/or wrong. Externally, society may change its precepts
(for whatever reason) vis-à-vis right and/or wrong. Balance and clarity cannot exist.

People who declare you as “highly ethical” are, by definition, delusional. They are trying to scam you out of your money, trying to have sex with you, just pathologically lying to you, or sadly, just have no clue how humans work. They are also the
ones to watch out for.


[customize • simplify • optimize]


Present Business

The Blackest Artist

I’ve heard it all and I’ve experienced a lot. There is no debate or deliberation, just declaration at this point.

It’s always been difficult being the black one. The exception. The different. The surprise. The black graduate student. The black analyst. The black trustee. The black supervisor. It's exhausting.

 “Oh, you’re ty?!” Yes, that’s me. Hi.

I’m old enough to realize that, in this country (culture, society, world, etc.), it is generally and painfully difficult to be a black person. No matter how light skinned, assimilated, monied, or souled out, there is a constant and relentless pressure in America for black to be less. To be under. To be bad. To be dangerous. To be suspect. To be dumb. I really, really hate less when I’m working so hard to be more. Not so dumb.

Yes, slavery. All that. All the time. History is reality.

To the present thesis: Being categorized as a black artist has always riled me. It always felt so categorized and segregated. Limiting. I really struggled when someone identified me as such. I always felt as if I was being left out of the larger discussion or consideration. It's like being a local band. Nobody cares about local bands.

But I refuse to accept that paradigm. So say what you want. It doesn’t phase me*. I don’t care*. I am a black artist. Proudly. Unsegregated. A declaration.

Yes, that's me. Hi.


The (Blackest) Artist Statement

Long ago we declared, “this is what we do, this is how we do it” blah blah blah. A quarter of a century ago that was fun bluster but we actually meant it then and we still mean it. I mean it with all my heart. I only hope to always meant it.

The trick to creativity, for me, has been to have no audience. I’m at my most awkward when someone acknowledges my work. I cannot escape quickly enough. But—while there is influence and collaboration—I do not make many things for others. I pretend no one’s watching. I’ve been fortunate to just let out what needs to be let out. For sanity’s sake.

I so rarely sell anything anymore that it seems as if I’m not trying to sell anything anymore. I’m not. Once out of my head, I kind of don’t care what happens to output*. Take it. Ignore it. Cherish it. Leave it. I’m on to the next idea, project, compulsion, hype.

I am influenced by everything. I am influenced by anything. I am influenced by nothing. Art for me is precious. Art is sacred. Being able to make things does not an artist make. Likewise, declaring oneself an artist also does not. What is an artist? When you know you know.

I sometimes ask myself how my dead friends would react. I sometimes stumble across things I made decades ago and I not recognize them as mine. It takes a really long time for self-appreciation. Yet, getting better at self-appreciation often feels like becoming a less discerning producer. Blessings and curses, swords with two razor sharp sides.

Muses are real. So are critics. I don’t really believe anything positive or encouraging. Only swipes matter. Because I can react to swipes by becoming better. Praise equals complacency. I will get better before I die. Or, I will get better then die. Or just die. Or worst, get worse.


* Lies


FAQs Three Threes and an Epilogue (Transition)



  • What is it exactly that I am asking of this sad world that I am somehow not already receiving?
  • What does someone even offer someone who has everything?
  • Can we accept that the blessings and curses of seeing everything—seeing the best of ways and most obvious perils—are not something everyone can also see?

These are Three Threes


  • Optimize
  • Simplify
  • Customize


  • Discipline
  • Focus
  • Presence


  • Authentic
  • Improvisational
  • Conceptual

An Epilogue

As a summary
That is what makes the struggles
We are animals




memory factor(y)


i did not photograph it but i can remember it clearly

i saw an amazing cloud formation yesterday
it was one  the the most amazing formations i have ever witnessed
i was driving and i was not alone so i felt that i should not make a photo
but i really should have because my passenger would have fully
understood having been in situations like this with me her entire life

i also do not have a photograph of the number one most
amazing cloud formation i have ever seen yet in my life
that was in Aurora Colorado in July of 1987 specifically
back in the days where you just had to remember things forever
this i recall because it was breathtaking enough to stop all activity

thunderhead development at the border of the plains and Rockies
the deepness of the sky blue contrasted with purest of cloud white
followed by a life altering double rainbow’s refractions of refractions
if i painted the scene i would be accused of creating cartoonish fiction
because the sky has never looked as perfect or strange they would say

i do not know if what i remember is similar to or different from
what other people remember over time or across eras
this morning i remembered two of the worst headaches i ever had
i remembered that Emily gave me a skateboarding book in 1975
i am sometimes accused of not forgetting things but i know better

i was driving north yesterday in the orange-ness of golden hour light
and uncharacteristically to the east was what looked like the incoming
mammoth tidal waves of my serial dreams but they were not liquid
they were mountains of clouds low on the horizon with the white
of the clouds painted orange tan gray and gold on the lowest third

had i a convenient vantage to make the perfect photograph
maybe i would have taken the opportunity or courage to do it
yet there was no compulsive angst in not making this one
it was just an uncharacteristically peaceful knowledge that
i may remember this moment of my life at some other moment

memories are gifts for the future




13:00 para auriculares y cacao

 tyhardaway dot com


On the Cusp of Another Nostalgic Autumn



in the art school of hard knocks course 101

there are historic distinctions that weed for authenticity


it seems as if everyone has discovered and dipped a pinkie toe 

into an interpretation of what they believe art is for not or better

but without the requisite suffering context experience or pain

there are no shortcuts in fact there are no destinations or reasons

just because one can afford to purchase a camera or use an app

does not an artist make -- on the contrary

if your work cannot be proofed with blood* -- unless it subtracts 

from your end days -- don't count me as interested or impressed

it is as ok to frighten others as it is to terrify yourself

i've seen probably way too much for myself and others so

it is illuminating when exactly half of the seven rules of influence

are completely not just ignored but totally violated on purpose


with nothing left to prove or demonstrate anymore

one can simply stop caring and simply produce in purity



*or the standard bodily fluids like tears, sweat, or saliva