Thaddeus William-Coates, an activist on LGBTQIA issues to Sizeism, is a talented illustrator and model whose work is vibrant, intriguing, and visually stimulating.
Don’t rush the process, and don’t be a slave to the algorithm. I sometimes find that I may feel pressured to rush and push out art in a specific time slot to gain “maximum” exposure. It’s very detrimental to the process and often will result in an artist not feeling entirely confident in the work they produce, so don’t rush. Take. Your. Time.– Thaddeus William-Coates
How did you get into illustrating?
I’ve been illustrating since the 6th grade; it started as me making little characters during the benchmark quizzes we would take on scratch paper. It was around the time that ‘Fairly Odd Parent’ debuted on Nickelodeon, and I was obsessed with drawing Timmy Turner after watching Butch Hartman.
What do you prefer to draw: original characters or your preexisting characters?
I prefer to draw original characters because they have no rules. Still, preexisting characters are fun to test your discipline and good at challenging you to develop and find your own personal style.
Who are your influences?
My personal influencers at the moment are definitely the artist from “The Line” animation studio. I love their stuff!, Also Freddy Carrasco, Jonathan Djob Nkondo and Gyimah Gariba.
What piece of yours is your favorite, and why?
My favorite piece is probably, “Big Boys Dance Too” it’s definitely my truest piece, and it resonates with me a lot, it’s bold, fresh, and fun.
If you could compare yourself to any cartoon character, who would it be and why?
If I could compare myself to any cartoon character, it would probably be Cyborg from “Teen Titans GO!”. He’s always super lively, determined, and passionate about trying new things and exploring new ideas.
Has anyone unexpectedly reached out to you about your art? If so, who, and how did that conversation go?
My biggest “OMG” moment was when Tia Mowry personally requested me to do an art piece of her son. She commissioned me and reposted everything. It was quite a moment.
For those that don’t know, you’re also a model. What made you want to get into modeling?
Ahh, yes, I am a supermodel now, which is so crazy for me to think about. Modeling was one of those things I did just for fun and did not expect to take off in such an amazing path, but I’m super grateful and well aware of how I am representing for many of those who look just like me who feel under-represented.
What’s been the most exciting thing to come from modeling?
Being able to get flown to London and meet with so many clients, being the face of campaigns and having my friends who live all over send me pictures and videos so proud and things, it’s honestly such a fantastic feeling.
You use your platform to advocate for a multitude of things from LGBTQIA issues to Sizeism. Why is it vital for you to speak out on these issues?
I think it’s essential as the industry starts to open up and become more accepted that those around it mirror that mindset. It’s all about growth, and most people aren’t aware of how hurtful comments and thoughts they have are to the progression of everyone. I think it’s essential to make people aware of it.
What’s one piece of advice you’ve received that has shaped you as an artist?
Don’t rush the process, and don’t be a slave to the algorithm. I sometimes find that I may feel pressured to rush and push out art in a specific time slot to gain “maximum” exposure. It’s very detrimental to the process and often will result in an artist not feeling entirely confident in the work they produce, so don’t rush. Take. Your. Time.
What’s next for Thaddeus? (i.e., campaigns, workshops, exhibitions, Etc)
I’m currently gearing up for my first solo show this Spring 2020. Where I will be showcasing/selling some of my favorite series, as well as my animation work, so if you’re reading this, “You’re Invited.”
Follow Thaddeus William-Coates on Instagram @hippypotter