Tyra Mitchell, or TYRATHEZOMBIE as she is also known is a visual artist born and raised in Washington, DC. Currently, Tyra freelances as a photographer and creative director while studying film photography. We decided to catch up with the talented fine artist and photographer for our latest Artist Spotlight segment..
COZYmag: When did you pick up your first camera?
Tyra: As a child, I remember always having a camera glued to my hand. I would always be taking photos of my family, friends, and daily surroundings. I never thought that later in life, I would make a career out of it because I was more interested in fine arts.
COZYmag: Do you go to school for photography?
Tyra: Yes, I am currently attending college for Photography. A lot of people have mixed feelings towards going to school for art (specifically photo), but I think it’s a great place for resources and connections.
COZYmag: How does New York inspire you and your craft?
Tyra: Being in New York definitely has made a positive impact on my mindset. Everyone here is a hustler, which is a constant reminder to myself to always be grinding. You can easily get lost in this city. So as soon as I moved here, I knew that I had to be serious and always be working, no room for playtime.
COZYmag: What do you love and what do you hate about New York?
Tyra: I definitely love the toughness of this city. I love the culture within each borough. I love that everyone’s after something! What I don’t enjoy so much is the rats (why are there so many!?) and the gross smells in the city.
COZYmag: Film or digital and why?
Tyra: I have been doing digital for most of my life, but I have been exploring with film lately. I love that film gives you a more sense of control. More authority over your image. Film forces you to really really use your eyes. In my perspective, photography is all about capturing ideas, creating stories, connecting with people. I honestly feel like with film, I am deeply finding myself artistically. Film is an amazing exploration of self and the world around you. I have never felt so in control of what I was creating.
COZYmag: How did you come up with the name ‘tyrathezombie’? Is there any story behind it?
Tyra: Haha nope, it was literally just a twitter name/inside joke that stuck. Me and my friends were just talking about what we wanted to change our twitter names to so we were all “lets be [insert name here] the [insert whatever you wanted to be]!” I honestly wish I had a cooler/deeper meaning for it.
COZYmag: How would you best describe your style, what defines your art?
Tyra: Tough question! I always try to avoid labeling my work or myself. I really just try to capture moments of my daily life and what’s happening within my generation. I show this through juxtaposing different elements such as soft tones and bold colors. I experiment with a lot of different things so I wouldn’t think that I had a style unless someone pointed it out.
COZYmag: What inspires you?
Tyra: The world around me! That is where I draw inspiration from. I started taking photographs solely from a candid eye because I love capturing what’s going on around me naturally. Also fine art. I love surrealism!
COZYmag: What’s your method of creating?
Tyra: I will have an idea, think of how to execute it, and then go out and bring it to life.
COZYmag: Favorite artists?
Tyra: I can really just name all of my friends. I have such awesome and talented people surrounding me! But as far as more known people go, there are many artists that I respect. Francesca Woodman, Tim Walker, Salavdor Dali, Petra Collins, Steven Meisel, and 13th Witness (fun fact: first person I followed on Instagram)
COZYmag: What is #girlartisttakeover? Sounds like a cool movement!
Tyra: I started hashtagging #girlartisttakeover on my girl friend’s pictures when they would post their amazing artwork. The point of it is to capitalize on girl artists who are killing it in these “male-dominated” fields. I want to spread awareness to the fact that girls rule and it’s time for us to take over the art world. In a way, I am trying to create a sisterhood of female artists. Bring girls together to build something instead of knocking each other down. Which, unfortunately, is what girls can be known for.
If you are a girl artist and you know that you have the ability to change the world, then use it!
COZYmag: Do you think it is more difficult to be a female photographer?
Tyra: Seeing as how the field of Photography is “male-dominated”, I want to say yes. Just because some people may not take you seriously simply (and idiotically) because you are a girl. Meanwhile, I know so many girls (including myself) who are working super hard and killing it. It’s all about your grind at the end of the day.
COZYmag: What do you believe in as an artist?
Tyra: I believe in inspiring others, whether they are artists or not. Inspiring someone is the most awesome impact you can make! I want to be a role-model for younger girls and show them that you can be successful at doing whatever it is that you want, as long as you are serious and ready to put in lots of work. If you really want it, you will obtain it. But you can’t ever be idle! You don’t get anywhere that way. You have to always be moving.
COZYmag: Do you do anything besides photography?
Tyra: I am also a fine artist! I paint and draw from time to time. I actually went to high school for Visual Arts. I haven’t really done serious work in a while because my focus is currently lying with my photo career.
Words by Barbara Bazsó — (@FlyGirlBarb)