We talk street art with Spray Station founder Andy Clare
Written by Olivia Gardener
A year ago, Andy Clare, was settled in a normal nine to five job in a call centre, with dreams of being discovered as a spray-paint artist, something he has been passionate about since a young age.
Today, he sits in his studio at Fargo Village, amongst his art works. After deciding to ‘stop waiting to be discovered,’ Andy now sells his art worldwide, teaches others and runs his own independent business.
After working various jobs, he deemed creatively unfulfilling, Andy decided to abandon his latest role in search of his dream career.
After travelling across the UK doing live street performances of spray paint art and selling his work, he opened Spray Station at Fargo Village where he works on spray paint work and street art, and hasn’t looked back since. His work varies in style and can take anywhere between five minutes and one hour to complete, with his inspiration coming from any ‘ideas that just come to [his] head.’
For those who are artistically inept, Andy’s work may seem difficult to replicate, but he assures us that ‘anyone can do it.’ On a mission to prove this, Andy has been teaching art to children and young people from all backgrounds since 2003, encouraging them to let out their creative side.
Whilst Andy mainly focuses on spray paint and street art, he says he is not ‘a one trick pony’ as he has various other projects he works on amongst the community; ‘one day I may be painting a children’s play centre and then the next day an abstract graffiti mural.’ He explains that ‘many artists concentrate on one style’ but this is where Andy differs. Some of his recent projects include painting a party bus and a children’s play centre, proving he has no restrictions in terms of his scope.
His interest in art was formed at a young age, but as a youth, Andy struggled to find outlets for his creative expression without breaking the law. ‘We used to practise in abandoned, derelict buildings where it already existed’, he explains. However, this doesn’t mean Andy hasn’t had his fair share of trouble; he recalls a time in his youth when he was chased by police and a helicopter due to ‘vandalism’.
Today, however, Andy wants to break away from the common association of street art and criminality and explains that he doesn’t agree it should be practised ‘anywhere’ and hopes for more available outlets for artists to practise their art freely and legally.
Coventry may not be at the forefront of the street art scene; it’s grey infrastructures are lacking in the splashes of colour like that of cities such as Bristol or Berlin, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an underlying scene. Andy explains that ‘We [Coventry] do have a lot of local talent’ and has hopes of working as a collective to ‘create a cultural quarter in the city’ which he hopes would attract visitors and ‘inspire future generations.’
He mentions that in Leicester they host spray paint festival called ‘Bring the Paint’, which he has participated in and would like to see something similar in Coventry.
In a time of political divide, there is a lot of opportunity for artists to reflect their agendas into their art, but Andy is different; ‘I don’t think the world needs another Banksy’ he explains with a laugh. By not incorporating his political stance into his work and ‘staying away from the bureaucracy’, Andy enables his work to be enjoyed amongst the masses, and his art is now sold worldwide.
Andy has been running his own business in Coventry’s creative hub, Fargo Village for just under a year and has no intention of returning to his old lifestyle.
He explains that his sudden change in career has been very beneficial for him and plans on staying in Fargo. He hopes to open additional Spray Stations in other towns, helping the art form continue to flourish and progress. He even mentioned possibly starting a YouTube channel, teaching others his creative techniques.
Follow Andy on Facebook here: @spraystationfargo.