Tyler is one of our 20 Builders and is an artist in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Name: Tyler “Siamese” Read
City/Town: Rapid City, South Dakota
Where else can we connect with you online?
Who is your community?
I have three communities that are very important to me. Rapid City, the arts community, and the graffiti community.
Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day.
I don’t have average days. They all differ quite a bit. In an “average day,” I might:
-Give graffiti art presentations to 6 high school classrooms.
-Create a purposely low quality social media video to advertise a Star Wars Craft/Nancy Sinatra tribute party.
-Send a PDF document from my phone to someone while standing in a white tiger’s cage in the process of painting a mural.
-Meet with a local homeless youth who wants to be involved in art projects to keep busy and stay sober.
– Pasting children’s artwork up on a wall in Art Alley to promote hunger awareness.
– Cursing at a Youtube video that inadequately explains how to tie the orange bow tie I purchased for a conference in St. Paul.
– Vigilantly scanning Ebay for deals on unopened packs of vintage 80s movie trading cards for a pop culture bingo party.
– Meeting with the chief of police to discuss the sustainability of Art Alley.
– Attending impromptu plays and dance recitals produced by my two daughters.
-Writing a blog for Americans For The Arts website.
– Going for a morning ride on my shiny, chrome, lowrider bicycle.
What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming?
Learning how to collaborate more efficiently. Collaboration is a beautiful and crucial thing, but also delicate and tricky to get right. I’ve experienced some incredible collaborations and been heart broken by some disastrous ones.
If you could do any job, what would you do and why?
Well, I really love the job I have as Arts Education Engagement Coordinator for the Rapid City Arts Council, and I don’t think I’d want to do a different job, but if I could clone myself and have a second job, I’d like to run a gallery/ screen-printing shop that serves to help local artists build affordable bodies of work that stimulates a market of art collectors for the region that is affordable to more people. It would also host community response shows that focus on contemporary and regionally relevant issues and promotes a sense of empathy within the community.
What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the OTA region when it comes to your career?
We are still able to pioneer into new territory here, and most anyone who wants to be a change maker for their community not only has a chance to do that, but is also genuinely needed.
At what intersection do you live your life?
I live at the intersection of Creativity and Spiritual Healing.
Where do you think good ideas come from?
I think good ideas come from two things.
No. 1. A shared moment of realization/excitement/reckoning/empathy/compassion/support.
No. 2. That momentary flash of desire/awareness/passion that motivates you to do something.
What’s one current trend you think will change the world?
Well, there are two trends, and it could go either way-
No. 1. Empathy.
No. 2. Lack of empathy.
You know which I’m rooting for.
What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?
Find people who you can collaborate with who can help you build something bigger and better than you originally imagined.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?
Putting others before myself. It’s also the greatest reward, but when it backfires, it hurts worse than anything else.
What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?
I lost contact with my little brother and haven’t spoken to him in a couple of years. I learned you need to be brave at any cost and not give up on doing the right thing.
Who do you hope to leave a legacy for?
My two little girls.
I need to teach people empathy so they will know how to love and care for my girls when I’m gone.
The OTA Builders are a group of individuals who thrive on possibility and use all opportunities they are given to grow both in their careers and in their passions. We seek creatives who are tenacious and strong-willed movers and doers and are driven to make a significant impact on the people around them and the community they call home. These people recognize their talents and capabilities and find ways to continuously grow and learn from them. Why is this you?
I have hustled hard to make it from being a graffiti artist working 12-hour days in production factories to transitioning into and arts professional. I learned a lot in a short amount of time and done some things I’m very proud of. I’ve learned how crucial a support system is and how ethically obligated we are to be that support system for others. I’ve had to adapt and accept some very humbling situations along the way that helped me learn who I really wanted to be as well. I know I’m making headway because of this — I remember what a decade felt like from my twenties to 30s. It was easy to comprehend that time frame and summarize it with a list of highlights. But the past five years of my life feel like a whole different life — like an explosion that I couldn’t fathom with time, or an orderly timeline. It just doesn’t make sense, and that gives me chills to think about. In a good way.
What project will you focus on as part of the OTA Builders Program?
I’d like to focus on the idea of helping build community artists bodies of work through printing, and designing events and tools that create a broad consumer base for those products.
What change / advancement do you hope to achieve as part of the OTA Builders Program?
I’d love to see an an independent, youth lead arts community rise from it and become distinct.