Street art has been accepted for millennia as a form of expression, communication, and a way for ordinary people to make their lives, problems, and interests known to the world. It is also regarded as one of the largest art movements that has achieved significant popularity and is still growing rapidly as an art form.
The 1980s New York Golden Age of street art produced some of the world’s most well-known street artists, with artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Richard Hambleton playing important roles in the movement. Their work is frequently credited with bridging the gap between street art and fine art, and their works now command prices in the millions. This gradual acceptance of street art has persuaded many artists to consider it as their full-time profession, one such individual is Tysen Knight, an expert in fine art.
Tysen Knight was born in Florida but grew up in New Jersey during the height of the Street Art Movement. He always knew he wanted to make art for a living but earlier in his life, he started working long hours as a barber and even experienced homelessness before becoming the success story he is today.
Knight began his artistic journey by drawing cartoons and airbrushing them on jeans for $25 at a young age and designing logos for businesses. As a teenager, he used graffiti to communicate his artwork on walls and vacant buildings . He drew his inspiration from Andy Warhol, a famous American artist. Knight was raised in New Jersey until graduating from high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He now resides in Palm Springs, California, where his artwork can be found all over town, as well as in local galleries. In California, he has been creating mind-blowing “Pop Urban” pieces that will indeed live on in perpetuity, blurring the lines between street art and fine art.
Knight’s passion for the arts does not end with the canvas as his creative spirit landed him roles in Hollywood films such as Epic Movie and Nora’s Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above. His art-driven mind has led him to secure roles in different domains of media as well, including acting in feature films and music videos, modeling, and directing his own full-length documentary, The Art of Hustle: Street Art Documentary.
Tysen’s documentary, The Art of Hustle: Homeless Street Artist, was a huge success and it inspired him to transition from being a street artist to a regular gallery contributor. It won the Marina Del Rey Film Festival’s “Best Director Short Documentary” Award in 2019. The documentary was the result of continuous hard work as its shooting started in October 2016 and Knight worked sixty hours a week at a barbershop and spent his weekends and holidays filming the documentary for straight nine months. Knight directed the documentary to tell an inspiring story about the efforts and dedication required to achieve one’s goals and dreams, as well as to shine a positive light on street art and graffiti.
During his artistic journey, Knight also painted several benches in Palm Springs. The first bench beautification program of Palm Springs, funded by the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission included 10 benches painted by local artist Tysen Knight and 11 additional benches painted by ten other local artists.
In 2018, Knight launched his Boys Art Mentoring program and other curriculums for teaching art in local school districts. It’s been a huge hit with both students and faculty, who are impressed by Tysen’s ability to inspire young people to be creative and express themselves through art. Many of them had never even touched a paintbrush before but the professionalism they portrayed after taking classes from Tysen was exceptional.
While Knight appreciates the opportunity to share his vision with those who really want to know about art, his true passion lies in teaching the dynamics of art to young people. The pandemic has been quite difficult for Knight, but he is now back doing what he loves best: inspiring and teaching young students through art.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.