Tony TEMPT1 is an artist, publisher and social-activist based in Los Angeles, California. He was a pioneering artist in the California graffiti scene in the 1980’s and 90’s and influenced a younger generation of graffiti writers with his vision to build community through art. Sadly, in 2003, TEMPT1 was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis ( also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a degenerative neuromuscular disorder that causes paralysis and ultimately death. Over the course of 5 years, he lost the ability to move his arms and legs, speak, eat and even breathe without life-support systems. But, the disease has left his mind alert, and his creative spirit and drive to make art completely intact.
One year ago, TEMPT1 teamed up with a group of artists and hackers from the Graffiti Research Lab, OpenFrameworks and Free Art and Technology communities to develop free and open source eye tracking and drawing software that has helped him make art again for the first time since being hospitalized. Not only is he drawing again, but he’s creating new and complex letter forms, designing font libraries and evolving a brand new style using new and old technology in ways no one could have imagined. After seven years of paralysis, TEMPT1 has again become a pioneer in a new community of creative individuals who refuse to let neuromuscular diseases stop them from expressing themselves through art.
This Kickstarter campaign is an attempt to raise the money TEMPT1 needs to create a new collection of original TEMPT1 artwork and merchandise using the EyeWriter 2.0 software, robotic technology, traditional print-making techniques, as well as his community of friends, fans and peers. Supporting this campaign will not only allow TEMPT1 to continue to make art and express his ideas, but it will give him a chance to again become a professional artist, independently support himself and his family, pay for his medical bills, and make a contribution to the contemporary art world.