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Written byNicholas Trethowan

You can create opportunities for yourself, if you just reach out to people, you can make that happen.

Vibrant, thoughtful and expressive, multidisciplinary film maker and artist Troy Tyler caught our eye recently with his project ‘Lonely Planet’. A mixed media fashion campaign influenced by 70’s sci-fi, retro futurism as well as the same drive of individuality, exploration and voyage that took us to the moon. With a gripping visual journey and visceral audio, the project brought our attention to the young creator and the exciting level of skill we’re seeing becoming a day to day norm in our country. With a manner about him that is warm and grounded, I sat down with Troy to talk about his work, our independent local creative scene that’s on the rise and nurturing art by never being idle and going your own way.

Troys passion for film started in his dads movie collection, realising his creative desire to explore storytelling and film through cinema classics like Drive, Jackie Brown and No Country For Old Men. After school and during his gap year, Troy started his journey into visual literacy through self-study and soaking up as much as possible – talking about these times with a thoughtfulness that underlies his nature. Finding his place in his discipline was something that took configuration to uncover the meaning behind story-telling. Troy’s pursuit in uncovering the tools to develop his craft and knowledge went through all aspects of not only film study but the deeper analysis of philosophical, historical and classical elements of one of the most important parts of life: stories and our relation with them. Although his academic career is distinguished, graduating summa cum laude, an important part to the artistic path Troy has taken was learning and changing to what he felt was more important in growing the foundation of his knowledge.

“Making mistakes is probably one of the most crucial things to creativity. Mistakes aren’t this big bad wolf that everyone makes them out to be. As a creative, it was my own creative challenge within myself. When you make something you want it to be perfect – you want it to come out perfect, you want it to be good at it from the start. The only way to make that happen is to mess up. To find out that it doesn’t work. The truth of the matter is that it’s only room for improvement. Those mistakes compound into something that is going to be better later.”

Earlier this year Troy edited and worked for Lukhanyo Mdingi on his Paris Fashion Week debut with his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22 collection. A piece that captures the beauty of not just the clothes but the exquisite art that exist in the garments creation and the truly unique South African identity that exists in our art. The edit allows the clothes to hold the space and almost linger on screen and is truly striking. With a portfolio of work with no particular style, Troy’s art is challenged by not sticking to one lane. Moving from a narrative based project such as Dreams of Pink – a COVID shot ode to David Lynch and Twink Peaks – to a project like Lonely Planet which is completely mixed media with an initial narrative behind but without trying to tell a story.

What became noticeable is Troy’s focus on creating art for himself and going his own way. It became clear that the driving force for him and his art is to explore the creativity that engages the artist and to not be concerned about what others are going to think. In doing so, the relationship with art becomes clearer and more defined as well as empowering the artist to explore what makes them happy. As Troy spoke about his work and the industry around us, a deep sense of grounded understanding about himself and his creativity became more and more prominent – an aspect that is shared by many young South Africans and is truly testimony to the clarity of vision and artistic maturity that makes our incredible community so world class.

As our independent creative community keeps rising internationally and becoming so prominent in Cape Town and South Africa, we discussed the importance of how vital it is to reach out to other creatives. Inclusive and warm spaces like GHOST, encourages creators to destroy their idleness by networking and collaboration with one another by reaching out of our own shells. With local fashion brands such as Leaf Apparel, Broke and Artclub & Friends creating international level products and our videographers, photographers, musicians, artists and models all producing and creating work that is at the highest level, SA has in the past few years started getting the recognition we deserve. Not by having it handed to us, but by reaching out for it.

“You can create opportunities for yourself, if you just reach out to people, you can make that happen. It took me awhile to realize, Social media is a place where if you like someones work you can reach out and say ‘hey, I really like what you’re doing, would you be keen to chat?’ Sometimes nothing can happen but sometimes you spark a creative relationship and friendship that can last for a long time.”

And this couldn’t be truer. We nurture our selves by collaborating with one another and growing with one another. As we concluded our interview, the impression of success was ringing in my mind. Although Troy’s art is captivating and beautiful and his skill immense, it’s the fact that his art is for himself more than for anyone else that will shape this creator as truly brilliant.

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