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Updated: Apr 9

“At the 25th celebration of Melvin Van Peoples Sweet Sweet back’s Badass Song, Melvin Acquired one of Ty’s pieces”.


Tyhib Rawls was born in Boston Massachusetts in 1971, and lived in the city for the first years of his life. Born to a single mother, Ty grew up with the gentle voice and touch of a woman. By the time He was 5 he had moved a couple miles outside the city where two Green-line Trollie stations stood, only a few blocks in either direction. The city was always calling. As a boy growing up Ty could feel it in his bones, like it was forced out of him and he wanted it back. The city. He had moved to an area where he rarely

Ty Rawls

saw black people, he felt like the only one. He longed for the city, he longed to be around black people, he longed for the safety he felt around people that looked like him. Ty attended school in Boston, Madison Wisconsin, and Detroit all before the age of 17. He won awards for his art in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Then joined the design program at Wayne State University.

Ty at a Senate meeting in D.C.

In 1995 Ty left Wayne State U to start the publishing company “Whats Next Entertainment”. In 1999 he released his first comic book titled “Smoke”. Ty did all of the art for the book, and when the title went international, he was elated. Three years later he released his first graphic novel under the same name, and with that minor success Ty moved to Boston. Soon after his arrival he won a personal review of his work by Paul Goodnight and weeks later he was training with the legendary painter and Paul’s teacher Paul Rahiley. Ty’s training at Mass Art College in Boston began. This four year period is responsible for the style of painting Ty does today. “Paul Goodnight and Paul Rahiley gave me the tools that I use to create these paintings. Without their training I would know nothing”.

Ty Rawls Hosting the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club in 2024

Today, guided by a strong sense of justice Ty’s art work examines the black experience and civil rights. This subject matter has been Ty’s main focus since 2015.

In 2018 Ty became a regular at the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club, and during the summer of social protests in 2019 people began to notice and acquire his work.  Possibly Ty’s most proud filled achievement is when The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History acquired “Now or Never Number 3”. It now hangs in their boardroom.


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