The other day, I stopped a guy on the street for the love of his bow tie made of dice, and his equally spiffy outfit.”Yes,” he answered, “I make them myself.” I had a feeling. His name is Mr. Talented (and I was equally impressed the URL MrTalented.com was his own), and when we met again over coffee for an interview, I learned how his talents extend far beyond that of making magnetic, even LED dice bow ties. You don’t become a self-made millionaire at 22 on dice alone.
Mr. Talented (known by some as Augustus Shaw) beat all odds to discover his talents as a painter, accessory maker, musician. (And nutritionist – he didn’t take coffee as he’s on his own invented cleanse of 11 days of white rice and water). At the end of our interview, he revealed that he was born to two deaf-mute parents that abandoned him at a young age. Signed over to NY State, he spent 5 years institutionalized in the Children’s Village, a boarding school for troubled boys, and yet he managed to graduate top of his class with a scholarship. It’s a miracle he can even speak and hear, let alone make it big and love again. But Mr. Talented has got a lot to say.
When did you make your first bow tie?
2010. I only made one out of yellow dice. Then I started wearing it around campus, FIT, and a friend told me I should sell them.
Do you make other shapes besides bow ties?
I make broaches, and since I’m a vegetarian I have a collection of fruits that I give away for free. I gave one to Serena Williams.
Your website is a stream of pictures of you and celebs like Adam Sandler wearing the bow tie, Tracy Morgan, Aziz Ansari, Shaun White.. How did you rub all of these elbows?
I’m also a successful painter, and my work is displayed in an A-lister place – Nello. That’s how I meet most of them. Jessica Alba was looking to buy a painting, but the asking price was too much; $9,000. She had really big sunglasses on though, I thought she was just pretty girl from the Hamptons.
How would you describe your method of painting?
100% power. It’s the only way I can describe it.
Best advice from a celebrity?
My boy Tracy Morgan said, “Keep on plantin those seeds. Someday they’ll see you again and say , hey I want you in my movie”. I’m still a kid, though; I can’t expect that much now.
Strangest celebrity encounters?
When I met the
New Jersey Brooklyn Nets, owner Mikhail Prokhorov, he asked “Do you like billionaires?” I thought about it.. There are people who could use a thousand, but he earned it. Also Gianni Russo, they made a movie about him, The Godfather. I was invited to his party and saw him singing. All they care about is how they’re going to pay their taxes.
What would you do with a billion dollars?
Figure out ways to end arrogance, ignorance, disease. I’d try my hardest.
How did it feel to sell your first painting?
It was weird. This happened in October of last year. It was all cash. Imagine getting thousands of dollars in cash! I had to go in the bathroom and count it all. Remember in Blank Check? That’s how I felt. I went shopping, took some friends out for dinner. Then I got older and thought I need to be smarter about this.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
Strange question… I go by pieces though. A piece has to be breathtaking to me. I need to be able to have it for 10 years or pass it down to my son… If I have a son. Or I make my own stuff.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Being a philanthropist. Already a percentage of proceeds from bow ties go to give water to children in Africa. If I sell two million bow ties, I can give $15 million worth of water to African children.
And beyond 5 years?
I’m going to open a restaurant with vegan and vegetarian from all over the world. One drink that I love is a blueberry cucumber smoothie. That’s like what you’ll see on menu.
Why do you call yourself Mr. Talented?
I call myself Mr. Talented because I’m talented at beating the odds. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen what I’ve created. Tens of thousands of people have seen my face. It’s not arrogance, it makes sense.