MATTE10: Creative Conversations w/ Teddy Quinlivan









In your own words, how would you identify as a ‘Creative’?
My name is Teddy Quinlivan, and the way I would describe myself as a ‘creative’ is a model, LGBTQ+ rights advocate, and probably an online shit poster provocateur.

What is one of the greatest challenges of working in a creative industry in NYC?
Just the ego - NYC is a culmination of a bunch of kids who were bullied in high school who felt like they needed an escape from their hometown. They were the ostracized weird queer outcasts of their environments. When you’re picked on so much as a kid you feel like you need to walk with a large ego to compensate for your own insecurities. That kind of baggage never leaves you even as an adult. Greatest challenge? You have to have tolerance for people with big egos.

Where or who do you go to when you feel burnt-out?
I’m very lucky to have my mom. She lives in Massachusetts, so I’ll just hop on a Peter Pan bus and come to hang out in the middle of bumfuck nowhere for a week and kind of regather myself. It's very grounding to be around your mom because my mom is so ruthless with me. She'll tell me anything she's feeling straight to my face. So instead of being a disappointment to the people that I work with, I can just be a disappointment to my family.

Where or who do you go to when you feel inspired?
I'm very lucky because I have so many amazing creative friends. When I'm feeling inspired I go to them.

How are you measuring your own success recently?
I'm always putting the pressure on myself, to be accomplishing more and doing more. It's really hard to do that and not get lost in the sauce. It's like, I don't measure my own success because I'm constantly being humbled every time I think I really have done something. It's like there's always somebody to tell me that I'm a piece of shit so I don't really attempt to measure my success in that way because I just don't really want to expose myself to the backlash.

What advice can you give to someone looking to build their own creative community?
Just surround yourself with people that inspire you, people that you believe in, people that you trust, and people that you can bounce ideas off of. I think the way that you find that community is just through throwing yourself onto the battlefields, and actually working in the industry, whether it's as an assistant from down, or from the bottom up - not the bottom down. We're all bottoms in this city. Unfortunately, New York is a city in bottoms…

Do you feel that a healthy amount of risk is important to creative growth, or growth in general?
The lane for safety seems to be the most vast and the widest one, but it's like…don't you want to leave an impression? Don't, you want, your artwork just sort of be timeless and a lot of times, artwork that's considered to be timeless is creative work.
So I mean, it depends What do you want to be? Do you want to be a footnote in history, or do you want to be the main headline?

How does one ‘survive’ as a creative in New York City?
You need to have passion and you need to have a sugar Daddy.

What was most important to you 10 years ago? What is most important to you now?
I was obsessed with proving both to the world but also to myself that I could be successful. And now I am at a place where I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anybody.

What’s still keeping you in New York?!
I'm in between New York and Italy. I'm 50/50 between both places. The thing that keeps me in New York is that there's no place like New York, it's the center of the Universe point blank period, I've traveled the world. I've been to many of the major cities of the world. Paris is really nice but there's just no place like NYC

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