By Lucy Smith
“If there is something that Walter and I want to champion, it’s the idea of friendship and collaboration. Being excited about our work, the energy and the high fives… we want to challenge the fine art world with that.” Both Walter May and Tyler Ramsey are LA based artists with unique backgrounds in painting, reality TV and directing. Now both of them have decided to collaborate on a series of works titled Friendship is Magic.
In addition to being a photographer, Walter May is also a commercial, advertisement and music video director based out of Los Angeles. He has worked with Katy Perry, Lebron James and Eminem as well as major brands such as Toyota, Starbucks and Samsung. Also in LA, Tyler Ramsey is an Abstract Expressionist painter, known for his unconventional, beautifully aggressive technique. A strange but significant fact, Ramsey also does not own a paintbrush. He has developed his style of shaping paint with his hands for an organic result that is explosive and completely enthralling. Ramsey’s work can also be seen on his own designer line of Toms shoes, as well as billboards throughout LA, turned into Rareform backpacks.
With mutual friends in the loop, May and Ramsey met at a Bible study and became instant friends. Ramsey had just started painting and adapting to his transitioned life of reality TV casting and production to visual art. “It was amazing to watch him develop his process and grow for the next few years,” May commented.
Both individuals continued to work on their own projects until recently, when they joined their forces and began working together using a wide range of mixed media, video, neon and advanced technology to highlight their own talents and the result of these coming together. The goal is to blend Ramsey’s organic process of painting with May’s eye for pop culture and modern influence. In a few pieces, such as Robot Battle and David & Goliath, a blend of paint, Ramsey’s technique and Lucite are combined and filmed, step-by-step. As the painting is being created, May films each step, each layer, which produces a stop-motion painting animation. At the moment, their process knows no boundaries.
It’s rare to see a mission of joy and positive energy stem from any corner of the art world. May and Ramsey have created artwork to encourage fun and explore the beauty that can be produced when artists collaborate. Friendship is Magic transcends self fulfillment and is founded on the notion of bringing people together, reveling in the life we are given and making it known that art does not always need to be a social criticism, but it can be a celebration of life, a celebration of collaboration. With the intention of shifting perspectives and influencing others to get excited about art, they comment, “Our purpose is to take our ideas and come at them from the other side with a different energy. In every situation there is a yin and a yang and we want to try and approach our work from a positive perspective. There are so many emotions that we can have and not all of them are negative emotions. If we can somehow change that idea and bring in an energy of hope excitement and fun.”
Each artist gets something extraordinary from the other half of this project. Walter May explains: “The idea that he uses organic emotion, and the process becomes a part of the end product is huge. Coming from a film and graphic design background, I thought ‘what could we do to bring this newer technology into it’ and show what happens when machine combines with the organic. We want to explore how machine works with man.”
Tyler: “Both of us are passionate about collaborating in general. I have always been so impressed by the music videos Walter has made. If there is something we can share it’s that we have so much fun working together. Art can be more exciting when artists lead less with ego and more the desire to create. Artists can get honed in their own niche and it can be so much better when you can work together.
Both artists live with the intention of bringing passion into their lives, as well as their work. A few years back, when May’s girlfriend at the time, now wife, moved across the country, he created a song and music video with the band The Daylights to creatively show his love and send the message of how accessible they could still be to each other. The video went viral and has over a million views on YouTube.
Ramsey was previously working as a casting director and producer on the show Survivor when he met his future wife, a cast member, in the jungles of Africa. The problem? The show’s number one rule is no dating the contestants. Tyler, having been found out, was fired and then decided to disappear into the jungle. “There’s no way I’m going to go back and say I was fired. I would rather tell the story about causing an international incident. In the end I got the girl, so it worked out.”
Both artists continue to expand on their projects, always looking for opportunities of innovation and experimentation, especially with creative forces and technology. At the moment, the two are enjoying the benefits of working, while individually honing in on their craft. You can check out more of Friendship is Magic by visiting http://www.ramseymayart.com/.