A few months ago, I painted artwork live at an event for Falling Whistles, where the piece I painted ended up on Facebook. Somehow, in a move of social media magic, Ty Clark and I were “web introduced,” and I fell in love with his work. Turns out, he was showing at an event for Falling Whistles only a couple weeks later. Ty is CEO and founder of Veritas Fashion, a non-profit organization created to support humanitarian efforts worldwide through every form of art out there.
Ty (also known as “samo4prez”) works in all mediums, primarily painting, but says his biggest passion lies in writing. Clay and bronzing are part of his roots, but he says, “I keep creative as much as possible; I am finishing two novels with two others in the beginning stages…Sometimes I have the inner argument about being an artist who writes or a writer who paints. Maybe I am both.”
He and his wife just moved back from China two years ago, and they’ve moved around 14 times in the 8 years they’ve been married. The couple now resides in Lewisville, Texas. But, as Ty claims, “I will go, live and create anywhere.”
When asked what issue he feels most passionate about, he responds with, “I don’t think there is one particular issue. There are many that I support in a number of different means. Anything involving children I will put everything I have towards if I feel strongly about it. I have traveled and worked in many orphanages, handicapped schools, and boys homes for abused kids all over the world. My heart breaks for kids who are in need.
“Right now I support Falling Whistles through my fashion company, Veritas. I have gotten to know Sean Carrasso, [founder of FW], over the last year and a half and I believe in his vision and him as an individual, which gives even more strength to the cause he is fighting for in DR Congo. I support Invisible Children. I have a lot of dear friends who work there; I have been able to observe them since day one become an amazing and successful organization. My wife and I buy TOMS Shoes like no tomorrow, so that is support. They blow me away…amazing people and amazing vision as well.
“We are in the process of raising money for an orphanage in Kenya right now, too, through Veritas, called Naomi’s Village that will house over 120 children upon completion. If I could, I would get involved in everything I could find, but I am worn out enough with what we are doing. I just hope that the people that we (Veritas) engage and build community with will see our hearts and vision and it will inspire them to act where they feel led.”
How Ty first got involved in social justice? Here’s his story:
“My parents have been working in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Mexico for over 13 years serving in refugee camps, orphanages, handicapped schools, and the slums. I first left the country with my dad in 1995 for Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. We spent time with street kids and handicapped kids singing, playing soccer, netball, dancing, you name it we did it. It was a heart wrenching joy that I never felt. When we entered Rwanda it had only been a year since 800,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed in the Genocide attempt. It was my first encounter with child soldiers; I didn’t know what to do or how to react. Every border stop I had 10-12 year old children checking my passport with machine guns. My heart was non-existent, I had no beat left; it literally crushed my spirit.
“There was one particular orphanage that we spent time in. There were I believe 200 or so kids who had all witnessed the murder of their parents in a church service. After the Hutu rebels murdered the parents they locked these children in the church with the bodies, it was a week before anyone found them and let them out. I have never seen a completely hopeless, full of sorrow child before in my entire life. Kids I know smile and laugh even when they are down. Later that day I wept in my father’s arms in a way I never thought I could weep. When we left that orphanage, there were smiles and tears of joy on every child’s face. Our touch, our smiles, our love that we shared with these children was so real it gave them hope. I see those faces, both sides of them all the time. It pushes me, inspires me, and sanctifies me to build hope, to raise awareness and to engage culture through my creative abilities so that I can influence those to feel, and observe the emotions and cultures that I have experienced.”
That’s the stuff I love running across in doing this blog. Thanks to Ty for being so willing to share. I’m hoping his story inspires you to use your own creative abilities to make a difference. Check out more of his work below, and click on any of the links listed to find out more about Ty or the organizations he works with.