If you’ve ever seen me in person, then you know that when I’m not dressed up for work I’m wearing Teruo Artistry clothes. I like it because it’s simple but hip, something I can wear to make me look a little less weird and awkward. I decided to interview brothers Brian and Tim Watters, the founders of the Teruo Artistry, who happen to be hapa (and my best friends).
From their website, Teruo Artistry (pronounced teh-roo-oh), “[o]riginating from the Bay Area and based in Los Angeles…is a creative lifestyle clothing brand inspired by a collective of artists who dedicate their lives to creating something from nothing. Embodying art, music and fashion, Teruo Artistry is always creating – by any dreams necessary.”
Who are you and what do you do?
BW: My name is Brian Watters and I am the President of Teruo Artistry – I head up the marketing and strategy for the brand and I also produce music. My brother, TTW is the Chief Creative Officer for Teruo and is also an oil painter. Murph handles the operations and sales side of the business and Prophet is our Lifestyle Director and MC/songwriter for the band 7Lions.
What is Teruo Artistry?
BW: Teruo Artistry is creative lifestyle brand – Teruo sits at the crossroads of art, music and fashion.
Why did you name the company Teruo? Have there been any challenges using such an ethnic specific name?
BW: We named our company Teruo to honor our grandfather, Teruo Iyama. He is the American Dream. He overcame horrific obstacles to become a successful artist and businessman. He taught TTW how to paint and create. Teruo is also TTW’s middle name. And on top of all that we love what Teruo means and represents (Japanese for sunshine/good fortune man). The main challenge we have faced and continue to face is the pronunciation of Teruo, but most have been extremely receptive of the name, the brand and what we represent.
Tim, if you could own one painting from any collection in the world but were not allowed to sell it, which work of art would you select?
TW: Being that my grandfather was an Impressionistic painter, I appreciate the old ways and Van Gogh is my absolute favorite. His use of color, space and motion is unparalleled. As much as I love the classics like Starry Night, my favorite piece is his Blossoming Almond Tree painting.
Brian, if you could have composed any single piece of music that already exists, which would you choose?
BW: It’d have to be Beethoven’s 9th.
Any advice to young API/hapa artists?
Don’t mistake activity for progress, so work smart and do not underestimate the power and value of contacts, so always NETWORK… And never stop creating.
What are you guys working on now?
BW: We are always creating, whether art, music or fashion so we have a TON of stuff we are working on right now. We are readying a special Holiday Line for Teruo to be released in November, pushing the brand new single from Six Reasons and Too Short that we did, releasing some fresh new viral videos and TTW has been releasing a new art piece every week!
How can people find out more about you guys and about Teruo Artistry?
[Photo from left to right, Brian Watters, Brian Murphy, Prophet, and Tim Watters]