Although he doesn’t consider himself a professional “anything,” Ty Williams has found success in manyfacets of his life. He is a visual artist and world traveler who has worked with brands such as Patagonia,NIKE, Urban Outfitters, Burton Snowboards and Billabong. And he’s always looking for his next adventure.
Born in New Hampshire and raised between New England and the Virgin Islands, Williams moved to St.Augustine in 2004 to attend Flagler College where he earned a degree in communications and publicrelations.
“My grandparents lived in Florida,” Williams says. “I had surfed here many times. Originally, I wanted to goto college in California or Hawaii, but those places were too far away by my parent’s standards. After Ivisited Flagler, it’s weird how I got hooked. St. Augustine has magical hooks that just sink into some peopleand I am one of them. I always come back.”
Fresh off a long hiatus at his parent’s horse farm in Maine and then a month in India and another month inSri Lanka, the 32-year-old is back living at his home in Lincolnville.
“I leave this Friday for the Dominican Republic to volunteer with a company called Waves For Water thatputs clean water filters in places that have a hard time getting clean water to people,” he says. “I’m certainthat while I’m there, I will shoot photos and perhaps paint on something. I can’t go somewhere and notmake things.”
On Williams’ recent trip to Sri Lanka, he befriended a local man whose café had been vandalized. Along withhis girlfriend, the two spent a week rebuilding and repainting the man’s business as well as redoing his signsand menu. In essence, they rebranded the café to help the man and his family with a fresh start.
“We became part of his family and changed his life for a moment,” Williams says.
Williams attributes his surf, sand and environmental aesthetics to growing up in the Caribbean and alwaysbeing around the ocean.
“Everything from the flamboyant costumes of the Carnival to the natural landscape of vegetation and theocean, it only made sense that I wanted to draw those things,” he says. “Tropical fish, sharks and dinosaurswere my specialty. I would make things with clay and draw feverishly all the time. My parents weren’t intome getting video games or cable TV, so I was forced to be outside and make my own entertainment.”
Williams says his art is also a way for him to cope with anxiety.
“I live with a fair amount of anxiety, and surfing and making things with my hands are the two things thatbring me the most joy in my life,” he says. “The ocean and visually pleasing design play a large part in mywar on stress. I doubt that I could live somewhere for an extended period of time that wasn’t near theocean.”
Williams has also been working on a few personal projects including a doodle book of his travels and wall artpieces made from reclaimed wood leftover from the construction of his Lincolnville residence.
“My home was chosen as part of a coffee table book that comes out next month called ‘Surf Shacks,’ hesays. “My home is one of my greatest accomplishments because I get to live in a space that I helped createand build with my father.”
To learn more about Williams, go to tywilliams.tumblr.com.