Houston – Toby McCraw, who goes by the artist name T’Mculus, has a strong love and passion for the arts. He was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and is an educated man. He completed his degree in Geography and Environmental Science from Western Kentucky University, and then furthered his education by completing his Masters in Counseling Education from Texas Southern University.
T’Mculus loves to work with kids, and works closely with schools in order to help students pass the STAAR exam. He uses his artwork and educational background to not only teach students, but to inspire them as well. He has traveled to 19 different countries, and has brought his experience into the classroom. For example, when talking to the kids about the different countries he has experienced, he first allows them to draw what they think they would see in that country, then encourages the kids do to research, and even learn mathematical skills when it comes to learning about the currency exchange from the different countries. He also shows them raw footage from the countries he has travelled to, so that the kids can experience first hand what that country is like. He expressed, “Art keeps their attention”, which creates less behavior problems, and the class day flows a lot better. All of these creative skills that he brings in the classroom allows the students to develop the skills they need to not only pass the STAAR exam, but to help with their day-to-day academic studies as well.
When T’Mculus is not helping students, he is working on his own projects such as EB5 International, which stands for Everybody Feels An International Vibe Experience. It first started in Spring, Texas when he first opened one of the first international art gallery in 2004. From there, he then wanted to start a network, which started from his first documentary in India. Before long, EB5 International TV had received over 85,000 views.
Through EB5 International, he showcases different artists and their artistry. He interviews them and takes footage of the life they live and represent. He expressed, “What I’m trying to show people is the real culture and bring that interconnectedness, and that’s where that international vibe comes from.” In 2017, he plans to go back in production and do a world tour to showcase Japan, Indonesia, Ghana, Belize, and Nicaragua just to name a few.
In addition to, EB5 Arts, is an online website that sells original art, and is also the home of tsoL, which is a clothing line that he has created. The goal of the website was to create the same vibe online that people experienced while they were in the international art gallery that was created in Spring, Texas. The name tsoL, is Lost spelled backwards. The name tsoL means “lost as being found, knowing who you are, knowing your individuality, and not swaying because of the master is swaying in the direction of what seems to be cool.” T’Mculus feels that people can see a lot of harmony and inner beauty in someone when they can freely be who they are.
His clothing line features his original artwork printed on hoodies, biker shirts, and leggings. He even has a shoe collection that will be coming out really soon. He was inspired to become a designer when he did a photo shoot for Colombia Moda, which was a phenomenal experience for him. When it comes his artwork, he wants people to truly think about his work, and to make people think about themselves, and the world around them.
T’Mculus is not only an artist, but he is a person who is constantly giving to others. He continues to give back to his community, to kids, and even to other artist. He is not concerned about the financial aspect when doing so because he believes that “when you push by creativity, and not finance, you will find that somehow the finance is always there.” Furthermore, he has worked with a publication as a key investor called The Young Houston Magazine, and in 2017, he also plans to embark in his own publication that will feature the arts, fashion, and culture.
When defining art, he stated that, “Art is alive, and art speaks to me. That’s when you know its art, when you look at a piece, and it gives you such a feeling that takes you into the artists’ life, or your very own, or someone you may know. That’s when you know it is great art.” In addition to, the advice that T’Mculus has for aspiring artist is to “be passionate about your work, and don’t get discouraged if you’re not an artist that is selling your work.” He also made it known that people should stay free with their work, and to not be afraid to share their creativity with others because an artist is supposed to inspire. For more information about T’Mculus and his artwork, you can visit his website at www.eb5arts.com, and you can subscribe to his YouTube channel https://m.youtube.com/user/eb5internationaltv.
By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.