There are many words to describe Tyler B Murphy’s role in South African graffiti writing, legendary, trailblazing, innovative, to name a few, however top of the list would be philosophical.

Tyler started painting graffiti in 1994, the first of the 3rd generation of Cape Town writers he cemented his place in the scene through his dedication to the art form. He has done every element of graffiti from tags to large-scale murals, more significantly he has done them well and inspired many artists along the way.

In 1995 he started working at Wildfire Tattoos, tasked initially with fetching and cleaning he was able to secure an apprenticeship which include new responsibilities and learning every aspect of tattooing such as needle building. He began tattooing his first clients in 2001 and worked at Wildfire for a few more years.

It was finally in 2008 that he opened his own studio, Sins Of Style, a new space where he was able to bring together all the ideas he had been developing and waiting to see materialize. He had the pleasure of working with a team of fellow tattooers who also had strong roots in skating and graffiti. Tyler B Murphy’s Sins Of Style set the standard for the modern tattoo shop in South Africa, an environment where the artists could be artists and every client would leave with an unique one of a kind tattoo.

It all ended, as do most good things unfortunately, when “the Plandemic made things impossible”. With SOS closed Tyler put his focus into making illustrations and also “figuring out who is trying to ruin the world”.

Tyler continues to tattoo and paint murals as well as experimenting with other mediums.

Making art is as endless as the pursuit of truth.



The world of an artist is one where the benefits gained match that of the time put in.

Tyler B Murphy spends much of his time trying to figure out two things. Firstly it is how to gain the skills necessary to make the best art that he can. Secondly he investigates all ideas, concepts, opinions and theories, on who is trying to gain control of this physical realm we inhabit and to what end.

The first is very much a “feet on the ground” pursuit while the second is a “head in the clouds” state of mind. He is never totally in either one of these states, rather each one endlessly informs the other.

With the gaining of skills comes the desire for more knowledge, and likewise an increase in knowledge creates the need for more abilities. The quest is unrelenting and perpetual.

Tyler shoots photographs on film along the way as inspiration grabs him, these images destined to be printed can at the same time adopt a secondary function as subjects within artworks.

Black and white are the two contrasts, the known and constant, with the illusion of grey they create representing the revolving and unresolved ideas.

In ‘Gain Of Function’ Tyler is exploring a new medium and the notion of removing pigment from a surface to create the image rather than by adding pigment to a surface. For the exhibition centre pieces he has experimented with white plaster and black oxide, the plaster surface is stained with oxide which is in turn selectively scraped away to illustrate the image. In these monolithic artworks the journey of discovery and learning is as important as the art itself. The process equals the result.