For Ty Rawls painting is a way life. As a child it was a way of coping with constant racism and the pain of never seeing his absent father. Drawing was therapy, and he drew a lot. In many ways, he was destined to be a painter. The Rawls family held fine art in the highest regard and recognized Ty’s talents, finding advanced art classes for him at a young age. After spending three years at Wayne State University studying fine art and design, Ty left to start his first big project, and in the year 2000 he became known around the world as the creator of the hit Graphic Novel, “Smoke”. In 2001 after success with “Smoke” and a move to Boston, Ty had the good fortune to meet Paul Goodnight and began training with the master painter. It was a dream come true, and during this period he acquired the specific skills that make him the painter he is today. In 2009 Rawls had a series of shows in Hollywood Los Angeles. Ty experienced L.A.’s amazing gallery scene getting attention for his work, and having an incredible /me. Tragedy struck when he faced six invasive surgeries from 2012-2016 but was offset by the arrival of his two amazing children, Tauros and Tesla. In pain and physically weakened, Ty thought he would never paint again. However, in late 2016, after six months of hard rehab in the gym, he was able to create his first big painting, “Richard Pryor”. Ty was back!
In 2019 Ty was introduced to the incredible Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club and in just a few months sold more paintings than he had thought possible. When the pandemic hit, people kept buying Ty’s work and in 2021 he started planning his first gallery show since 2009, with a new body of work that is more meaningful and vibrant than anything he’s ever done.
“Each canvas is prepared with a surface of thick gesso that creates a beautiful layer of frosting to paint on. I developed this process after years of Paul Goodnight's influence. This preparation is partly for longevity, my paintings are an investment so I make them to last generations.”