Timmy Ham | @iamsloth
Skyler meets with Timmy Ham – designer, illustrator, YouTuber and creator of the SLOTH brand – in Downtown Phoenix.
Ham has turned his creative passion for illustration into a sustainable business, developing a significant social media presence along the way. He tells Skyler how he started his journey as an artist and how he uses different social media platforms to his advantage.
The guest also offers insights on what it means today to be an artist who is using new ways of connecting and communicating with his audience, and why the time for other artists to do the same is now.
And if you think you can’t make art if you’re not living close to a big artistic community, you really need to listen to that guy! He briefly considered moving to California or New York, but then discovered a lot of reasons why Arizona is a place to live and work as an artist.
Skyler also discusses with Ham the ways technology made it easier to create, even for people who didn’t consider themselves creative before and how to make the best use of this uncharted territory.
It’s Volume 6 of #RedBullBoothTalks on The Skyler Irvine Podcast!
Timmy Ham is a visual artist from Phoenix and the brain behind the lifestyle brand SLOTH. His creative use of social media to promote his art and products earned him the Shorty Award in 2017.
His style is inspired by street art, local tribal symbols, and Southwest imagery. Colorful designs he creates often look like they are drenched in the strong desert sun.
Ham grew up in Phoenix surrounded by art – his mother was an artist and his father a photographer. But when he was younger, he didn’t think he would make his living as an artist. In fact, he was a successful football player, a running back at the University of Nevada, where he got a full scholarship.
But an injury hindered his career in sports. He moved back to Phoenix and got his degree at Arizona State University.
After graduating, Ham worked in a marketing agency and was doing artwork on the side. He started SLOTH in 2007, which slowly rose to more than just a side project. In 2012, Ham ran a Kickstarter campaign, raising $17,000 to turn it into a real business.
He used to think he needs to move to become a successful artist, but now he’s happy with staying in Arizona and finding a creative community here. “California, New York are a saturated market. Here you can be in top 5%”.
From early on, he had been aware of how social media can help him market his brand. Now his Instagram account has more than 60,000 followers, his Twitter – almost 55,000, and his YouTube videos have collected way over 6 million views. With his audiences, he shares not just the results of his work, but also his artistic process, often recording while paining or creating a mural.
However, his favorite platform is Twitter. “It brought me the most connection, business, and overall community. I like that Twitter stays close to its roots. For the most part Twitter stayed pretty much the same as it was in 2007. They’re pretty predictable.”
But Ham is aware of the social media presence being an every-day, long-term job. “It takes a long time. I feel I’m barely even doing what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life. And I’ve been doing it for a while now,” he told Skyler on the podcast.
He’s optimistic about the future of technology: “It’s like a gold rush, everybody is new in it. I think it’s special that artists don’t need to flock galleries, but can show their art on Instagram and sell on Shopify.”
Shorty Awards honors Timmy Ham: http://shortyawards.com/9th/timmyham
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