The Student Disability Services gathered art submissions from students to be displayed at the First Friday Art Trail on Oct. 4. One of the artists displayed was Tate Gibbs, a junior creative media industry major from Missouri City, TX.
Gibbs has been creating art from an early age, he said. Though he started working with pen, pencil and sketchbook, Gibbs has converted to digital art created on an iPad over the last three years.
“I have three pieces, the first one I made is called ‘Nuclear Fusion’, which is just one of the ones I came up with while listening to a song,” Gibbs said. “The next one I made is a simple drawing of a girl called ‘Hot and Cold’ where she’s wearing a jacket, gloves, and a poufy hat and just jogging shorts. I think I’ve run into a bunch of people who can’t decide if they want to start dressing warm or stay dressed like they have been for the summer. The last one is a drawing called ‘Climax’, which I made for a movie that came out last year. It’s my favorite.”
Gibbs also displayed his work at the same exhibit last year. He learned of the First Friday Exhibit through his adviser, Rachel Harmon, a Learning Specialist for the CASE Program through the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research.
Harmon advised Gibbs for three years, she said, and she enjoyed seeing his art displayed last year, but one stuck out as her favorite, titled “Grandpa,” which depicts an elderly man in a rocking chair in the middle of a wheat field.
Over the three years they have been working together, Gibbs and Harmon have become close.
“The three pieces he displayed he allowed me to keep,” Harmon said. “So, I have them up all the time and every time people come by, they kind of just look at them and there’s always something to see in them that they can relate to.”
Several of the counselors from Student Disability Services also enjoyed many of the art submissions they received, which totaled about 60 submissions, Kaitlin Hughes, an Academic Counselor for Tech Student Disability Services said.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by all the different types of artwork that we’ve seen,” she said. “I know a handful of counselors want to purchase the artwork themselves, so it’s really great to see our students and the community come together and display the unique ways they see themselves or the world. So many of the artworks discuss how they interact with the world with their disability, which is going to be really neat to see that displayed.”
Gibbs uses music and film to inspire his artwork, he said. Musicians and movie directors have been more influential in his growth as an artist than other traditional artists.
“Apparently I listen to it differently from most people,” Gibbs said. “If I listen to something that I get into, I’ll start animating my own music videos in my head.”
While he creates art like what was displayed at First Friday Art Trail, which he calls “safe for work,” Gibbs also considers himself a pornographer.
Gibbs is a cartoon artist and has been paid commission for some of the cartoon porn he has created, he said. As he got older, and had been drawing for a while, he took direction from other artists who had delved into more erotic styles of art.
“When it comes to porn, there’s all sorts of genres,” Gibbs said. “It’ll be made up of pretty much anything that anybody could ever find attractive or stimulating. I’ll focus on things of that sort, what kind of practices there are, like what would be shown, who is involved.”
Gibbs equates his artistic style to that of Cartoon Network shows like “The Amazing World of Gumball,” which has opened the door for a huge market for Gibbs artwork, he said.
“Another big market is cartoon porn,” he said. “Usually aged up, I’ve taken a lot of advantages from that. That’s actually where most of my customers come from. It’s huge. There’s just a huge market for it.”
Gibbs has his art posted on multiple art sharing sites, he said. As he has spent time posting his creations and looking at others, he has developed friendships within the online community. He thinks that may be how many people discover his page and commissioned him to create work for them.
Gibbs began on DeviantArt, which is how he discovered the more mature content, he said
“And I learned that once I started tweaking what I was doing to be more out there and absurd and not necessarily safe for work. I started getting more of a viewership and more of an audience,” he said. “It’s very exciting to build up an audience off of an artistic skill, and I ran with that. Once I started getting more confident in how I was drawing figures and models, that’s when I started taking it more toward the porn route.”
Gibbs said his parents are aware of the “not safe for work” side of his portfolio, but it is not discussed much, and he keeps it to himself in regard to his family.
His father is a Tech alum, which is how Gibbs ultimately ended up in Lubbock, though it was not what he originally wanted to do, he said.
“My father is alumni here, he’s always had magnificent things to say,” Gibbs said. “He’s a diehard Red Raider. But I didn’t want to go that route initially. I wanted to go more of the art school route, but a lot of things started to fall apart in that regard.”
So, Gibbs followed in his father’s footsteps and came to Lubbock, he said. He initially spent two years at South Plains College, then transferred to Tech.
Another big draw to Tech and South Plains was the Burkhart Center, where he is a Project CASE student, he said.
Harmon became Gibbs adviser three years ago, while he was attending South Plains, and she said that despite being away from home and adjusting to college life, he excelled and worked hard in his classes, but also in getting involved on campus and networking.
“I’ve just seen a lot of growth in that area, being able to manage life in addition to school, there’s just a lot of growing up,” she said. “And I’ve seen how he takes the initiative of networking with people on campus. When he came to Tech this fall, he began the same operation.”
Gibbs sells his art entirely online; he has yet to meet any clients in person, he said. His work can be found through similar interest pages, which when it comes to gaining clients and viewers, he said the online aspect is probably easier, particularly in terms of porn.
“It might make it easier depending on where you are,” he said. “How do you advertise something like that in a town like Lubbock?”
Though the subject matter of some of his work may not be fit for a dinner party, Gibbs does not shy away from discussing his art, whether it be “safe for work” or not. He would not be making money from selling his art if he kept it to himself, he said.
Though the bulk of his commissions are erotic, much of his portfolio is “safe for work.” He has filled thousands of pages of sketchbooks, he said. Over the years he has been able to put his own signature style on the art that resonates with some.
“To me there’s a lot of personality to them,” Harmon said. “It isn’t just a piece of art; he really brings some energy to it. It just kind of awakens your senses, you see the colors, the expressions on the faces, or something unique and something out of the box look.”
Though Gibbs has been doing more commissioned artwork, he said he prioritizes doing art for fun, and for himself.
“It’s very important to do, no matter how much work you’re doing for other people, always as an artist be sure to keep making stuff for yourself,” Gibbs said.