In Conversation - Jay & T.C. talk Life, Art, and GOOD KID, RAGE WRLD COUTURE.

Published September 14th 2023
By Jay Sanchez

Image By @emilyaprilallenphoto - Makeup by @goodgirl_ragewrld

It’s never too late to do what you wanna do. Can’t nobody tell you how to live your life but you, so do what you wanna do. Fuck ‘em


Jay Sanchez: I’m breaking the cycle with this one fam; I’ve seen so many articles about you in the past few weeks I’m skipping the intro and diving straight to it. Thank you for making the time to chop it up with me fam. For those that may not know, T.C. is originally from Memphis, TN. Give the reader a small glimpse to those younger days growing up in Memphis.

Ta’Miracle Carruthers: Growing up in Memphis as a kid was tough. I was a quiet kid, and I didn’t really fit in with a lot of people. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I grew up with 2 sisters and they were my best friends. My older sister really raised me and my younger sibling. I was always moving from school to school, so nothing ever really felt permanent in my childhood. Growing up I knew I was different, and I knew that I didn’t want the environment I grew up in to reflect my life as an adult. Memphis really taught me the art of hustling and surviving as a kid.

Jay Sanchez: I find the energy in Memphis to be raw yet extremely energizing, takes me back to my upbringing in Los Angeles. How did growing up in Memphis inspire the prolific creative mind T.C. is today?

Ta’Miracle Carruthers: Growing up in Memphis had a lot to do with sparking the creativity in my mind. We were poor growing up, and I didn’t really grow up having a lot. I think that growing up with nothing sparked that creativity because I had to learn how to always make something out of nothing. I would always have to wear hand-me -downs, so that’s where the idea of wanting to recycle clothing from goodwill and design them came from. My upbringing in Memphis involved a lot of trauma; like growing up around violence and not really experiencing a lot of love. Creating collages and making art was a way for me to express myself visually without having to say anything because I was such a quiet kid. I feel like when you grew up with nothing, all you really have is an imagination and a dream. I never really got a chance to be a kid, so I think that explains a lot about my art today if you look at it closely.

JS: I sincerely feel your words fam, life can easily make you or break you. I have the absolute privilege of knowing that my kids didn’t have to grow like you, and I did, I broke the generational curse. Life in the hood ain’t no fucken joke.

TC: Let me ask you something bro! You know my art focuses on my childhood and my upbringing; from our conversations I know you went through some rough times while growing up in Los Angeles. So, looking at my art, how does that remind you of your childhood and your home?

JS: I am a firm believer in the power of healing through Art. The first time I laid eyes upon your work I was immediately captivated; my journey was reflected deeply. Through your work I’ve been able to travel back in time in so many ways, it takes me back to that fun and danger I lived in as a youngster. I was able to see my cousins dope house/daycare at one point. I remember him wearing brand new shoes just once, then throwing them on the power lines to remind people of his territory. After the L.A. Riots many businesses perished and shit was just boarded up in South Central Los Angeles, this was also a memory resurfaced through your beautiful work. Your piece “Good Kid Rage World” is an abstract of the life experienced by yours truly alongside friends, family, and tens of thousands in the L.A. area. My home was also filled with pain and disappointment, that energy connects me with your work on so many levels. These memories are just a reminder of what I’ve endured and had to overcome on a level unimaginable to many where I come from. I’ve managed to overcome a lot of shit, personally I feel that your work creates healing and hope.

JS: That conversation can go on for days fam, let me keep it moving. Tell the reader about your collaboration with the Frist Museum. How did this come to be?

TC: So, my collaboration with the Frist Museum came from being in the right place at the right time really. There was an annual show called “Art of the South” that my art was in, and I think Katie, a curator at the Frist Museum, was introduced to my art then. I met Katie in person for the first time at a collab show that you actually curated for Ol Skool Mike and I at Coop Gallery where she immediately fell in love with my artwork. She brought up the fact that the Frist Museum had been curating this upcoming exhibition, “Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary American Collage” for years and that she wanted me to be in it. I was stoked at the idea of me being in a show with artists that I grew up watching and loving. It’s really a full circle moment. Katie and I met up to talk about the exhibition and how I could be included, so I threw out the idea of me creating live art in the Frist Museum. That’s how Art in the Atrium came to be. I literally created my own program at 21 years old.

JS: I honestly believe that creatives have the power to move mountains through their work. What are you wanting to accomplish with your work? How does Memphis play a role in all of this?

TC: With my work, I’d like to spread awareness on Memphis’ impact on the culture and how the people of Memphis are living. I feel like there’s so much history and untold stories of the people of Memphis, and I feel like it’s my job to let that be known. The people of Memphis are a breed of our own. I feel like there’s always this negative stereotype about people from Memphis that’s not 100 percent true. We’re just survivors, and that’s all we know. I want to invite people into my community, a world that they’ve never known, to see that these are actual people and there are people that really want to make a difference, but they can’t because they’re busy trying to survive and adapt to their environments. So, I’m here to convey their stories and to bring a positive change to the people of Memphis.

JS: With 2023 being such an Xplosive year for you, please give us more understanding to the journey you’ve been in for the last few years. Tell me more about life and your creative process during that time? How are the two important or connected?

TC: Mane… Becoming a new adult in the past few years has been hard itself. I graduated from high school in 2020, in the midst of a pandemic and inflation crisis. Becoming an adult during Covid was like a blessing and a curse. I got a chance to sit down and lock my mind to think about what I really wanted to do with my future. Having no guidance on top of that was hard too. I had all these people that didn’t have their shit together trying to tell me what to do with my life. I graduated high school with more than $80,000 in scholarship funds, but college was never really a part of my plan. Once I got that full scholarship letter from TSU in the mail, I knew that was my opportunity to get out of Memphis. I had been focusing on art since I was 16, so I knew what I wanted to do already and focused on a plan. I came to Nashville with about 10 art pieces and my collection grew from there. In my first year of college I was really depressed, and I wasn’t making any work. I just wasn’t happy at all, especially knowing that I had to go back home once the semester ended. I kind of lost myself and I was stuck with no motivation. In that period of time, I realized that I was holding on to a lot of unhealthy habits and a lot of unhealed trauma from my childhood that I carried into my adulthood. I’m not the type of person that just sits in sadness for too long. I just knew I had to get my shit together, so I saved up and got my first apartment in Nashville. I’m the first one in my family to have lived outside of Memphis, so that was a proud moment for myself. I took all of what I was going through and put it into my art, which has taken me on a journey that I would’ve never imagined. Just creating every single day and showing up for myself is where I’m at now. I still have a lot of healing and growing to do, but that just comes with the journey.

JS: The trauma we carry from our childhood can be detrimental to us and those we love sibling. I’m so happy to hear that you were able to recognize and execute elevation.

TC: As a man of color, how important do you think healing from your childhood trauma is? In the black community I think mental health is not talked about enough. Either we can’t afford therapy or people think that they don’t need it. How important do you think taking care of your mental health is?

JS: Powerful question fam. From my own experience I know that mental health was nonexistent in my community growing up. There was no safe space for those who were going through something in my hood “Quit acting like a lil bitch” was a common suck it and keep going chant. My upbringing introduced me to depression and PTSD; the results of growing up in a fucked up home located in the middle of a war zone crippled me deep into my early 20’s. Sometimes we must hit rock-bottom to learn how to pick ourselves back up, it literally took that for me to recognize what I was struggling with. “I personally never believed in caring for my mental health nor in counseling, believe me I do now!” Our communities have gone through centuries of obliteration fam, you and I come from powerful civilizations to say the least. We must recognize that our communities are still struggling in many ways, and mental health and or access to resources are still at the top of the list. Our minds are easily captivated by “society” to steer in a path taking our focus from what we truly need, creating false perspectives… I want people out there protesting Americas biggest gangster; health care and lack off. I want us to protest how we’re still out in these streets killing one another. There’s work to be done, mental health plays a major role in the elevation of our communities. I’ll leave it at that and keep that inner Che Guevara dormant for some other time… Let’s talk fashion fam. Give the reader greater understanding of the passion and inspiration behind your clothing line. Why is this form of expression important?

TC: Good Kid Rage Wrld is the name of my fashion line. I don’t like calling it a brand because everybody has one with no meaning intended behind it. My shit is bigger than that. I started the line when I was 18, a senior in high school. Good Kid Rage Wrld was inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s album, “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City.” In the album, Kendrick talks about the hardships of where he came from and how his upbringing didn’t reflect what he wanted to become as an adult. That message really stuck with me, and I wanted to turn my own perception of that into a line of clothing. That’s the story of Good Kid, Rage Wrld. I think that it’s a way to hold on to and be there for my inner kid. I started off hand painting on the clothes I already had, but my mom would get so mad because she saw it as me messing up my clothes. So, I started thrifting and designing reused clothing. I thought that it was cheaper and it was a way to help the environment. I think of the garments that I make as wearable art. These are not regular clothes that you’re copping, you’re copping pieces. The bigger my name gets, the more valuable the garments become. I also think that it’s a less expensive way for my people to become art collectors, and it opens up a door into teaching black people about the value of black art, even if it’s wearable art. My clothing line is for everyone, don’t get me wrong, but that’s just my main goal. I think that using fashion as an expression for yourself is so important because everyone doesn’t necessarily connect with each other by talking. Sometimes you can just glance at someone, and you can kind of get a glimpse into their life and in their story.

Image By @emilyaprilallenphoto - Makeup by @goodgirl_ragewrld

Image By @emilyaprilallenphoto - Makeup by @goodgirl_ragewrld

JS: Who; What; inspires your sense of fashion?

TC: My environment, my childhood, functionality, and a lot of rule breaking inspires my sense of fashion. If you look closely at some of my garments, you’ll see that depiction of a kid interacting with their environment or what is around them. I think that fashion isn’t fashion unless you’re telling your story. Fashion is what you use to express yourself, so if I can’t see a story behind what you have on, I won’t think it looks good. Functionality is so important to me because I love when garments are designed with a purpose. I also love how you can break boundaries with fashion. I admire individuals who can step out of their comfort zone and wear garments that’s not necessarily designed for them. I love seeing masculinity and femininity being played with when it comes to fashion. Some of the individuals in the fashion world that inspire me include Law Roach, Kid Cudi, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, and ASAP Rocky.

JS: Where do you see yourself as a fashion designer in the next five years?

TC: Within the next five years, I see myself exploring more of my creative ideas as a designer. I plan on having my own store with a team behind me. I plan on headlining for Paris Fashion Week. I also see myself styling some of my favorite celebrities in garments that I’ve created. I also plan on collaborating with some of my favorite designers because I think more creatives should create together. I see Good Kid, Rage Wrld being all around the world.

Image By @ashleyphotography_

JS: I admire the time made to work with children. Tell us more about this effort of keeping the younger generation inspired with creativity. Describe the passion behind it all.

TC: As a kid, I didn’t really have a lot of guidance and I didn’t have a lot of people that I could look up to in my community and in my neighborhood. I know a lot of people look to celebrities as guidance, but I don’t really know those people for real. I would’ve loved to have somebody in my life that could've guided me. I just want to be that person for children that grew up like me. I think that it is not only important for kids to be exposed to the arts, but for children to know that they could be the ones to create that art also. I know I didn’t really have a lot of support when my family found out that I wanted to be an artist because I think it’s a negative stereotype when it comes to pursuing art as a career. It doesn’t even have to be arts. I want kids to know that whatever you feel like pursuing, go for that shit. Since I was a kid, I can remember people telling me what I couldn’t do, but I just feel like the older generation should spend more time encouraging kids rather than tearing them down. But you know that also stems from adults not being healed from their inner childhood trauma. I also want kids to know that they don’t have to take that hurt and trauma into their adulthood. You can use art as therapy to get all those emotions out.

JS: In the spirit of keeping it unconventional, I personally know you’re bringing the heat with future projects sibling. Leave the reader with some final words or thoughts you may be having at this very moment.

TC: I’ve worked so hard to get where I am now bro, with little to no guidance. I had times where I wanted to give up, but I kept striving because that’s just how passionate I am about what I do. I do everything for a reason, and I do everything for my community. Coming into the art world was hard because it wasn’t as welcoming as I thought it would be, so I want to be the person that welcomes young creators into this world with lots of guidance. I just want to tell all these black kids out here that they can be who they wanna be.