We had the good fortune of connecting with Timoi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Timoi, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind the success of my brand is 100% my authenticity. Being an artist first, and a designer second, authenticity plays a big role in my business. There are so many artists and so much competition, however, being known as an original author of my work has played a huge part in my success. My fans love that they can be a part of something cool and authentic.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started drawing at the early age of six after my brother introduced me to stick figures. I would create little comic books telling stories with stick figures. Eventually, they grew into filled characters. As a school project, I painted a Virgin Mary and baby Jesus for Mother’s Day when I was nine. My teacher was so impressed, she told me I would be a famous artist one day. And I was smitten. She was strict with me so her being impressed made me feel really good about my art. Ever since I lived my life as an artist. I would tell everyone I was an artist. At 19 I came up with my artist name, Timoi, which is an acronym for Trapped In My Own Imagination. I knew art school would be too expensive and not something I could do, especially after having moved out of home at the age of 18 because my parents were abusive. I had to figure it out and so I picked up a job at an art store and basically read every book there and taught myself everything I needed to know about art, painting techniques, and art history. When I learned about Picasso and his blue series, I wanted my own series. One night I had a dream about this big bright-eyed doll. The doll told me their story and they wanted me to share their story with the world. So when I woke up from the dream, I named the doll Calo and started my first series, calling it, The Killer Calo Series. The reason being was because, Calo, is an alien/angel being from a galaxy far far away. They came to earth to help out humanity. Honestly, this is one of my most proud projects. Not only have I told their story, but I also started a whole series of dolls and began a brand in 2005.
I was on my way to stardom (Trigger warning) until 2011 when I was sexually assaulted and gang raped, which left me disabled for a few years. However, I didn’t let that stop me, I kept creating and selling my art. I did however have to retreat to heal. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to live through. The depression, anxiety, and overall PTSD symptoms. It was truly a nightmare. I went through extensive therapy to be able to come out of it. I didn’t tell anyone what had happened to me, not until 2020. Right before officially establishing my brand in 2021 after so many years. People had questions and I needed them to understand why I had retreated from the limelight. I was very lucky to have received so much support. My brand is growing. I started selling handmade items twenty years ago and now I am full-on manufacturing. It is a dream come true.
While I was disabled, I taught myself everything I needed to know about running a business and manufacturing. I have always been great at teaching myself anything. I have learned that life isn’t always fair but when you are passionate about something, you can achieve success no matter the obstacles and circumstances. The key is to never ever give up, one step at a time will take you far. Especially when you are struggling with your mental health, you will not feel like doing anything; however, it is then when you have to discipline yourself. You have to love yourself more than you are sick and give it your all. Nothing about owning my brand has been easy. I have dealt with my personal tragedies as well as copyright infringement. My work has been bootlegged a lot. But none of all of this could ever make me quit. I know the value of my life and the value of my art.
I want everyone to know that it gets better. Believe in yourself and in your dreams. You are valuable and so are your dreams. Have faith that God/Universe will help you through the most difficult of times. I hope that my story inspires you and that you know that if I can do it, so can you.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Melrose so we would probably spend a Saturday afternoon shopping on Melrose and end up at L.P. rooftop bar for some cocktails. Later that night we would go to Exchange LA for some house or techno music. Or take them to the classic Hollywood Stars Hollywood, some cocktails at Mama Shelter, and a movie at the Chinese theater. So many possibilities in LA. I love LA. This would be of course if my friend had never been to LA before. Hosting friends from other states or countries can be so much fun.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My sister Maritza and her husband Alfonso deserve the most recognition in my story as they are investors in my brand. They invest in several businesses and mine is one of them. They are my art angels.