Computer Arts - - Contents -

We go be­hind the scenes with artist Will Bar­ras in his two London work spa­ces: his flat and his studio

Artist Will Bar­ras dis­cusses the pros and cons of his two work spa­ces: his flat and studio, and talks about the es­sen­tial ma­te­ri­als he needs to cre­ate

Artist, il­lus­tra­tor and an­i­ma­tion di­rec­tor Will Bar­ras has two dif­fer­ent places that he can work from, de­pend­ing on how he’s feel­ing, or how cold it is. At the mo­ment he’s en­joy­ing stay­ing warm work­ing from his flat in east London, which is par­tic­u­larly handy as his days are some­times cut short by the school run.

“I have a big room to work in, lots of tea and I of­ten stick Net­flix on in the back­ground,” says Birm­ing­ham-born Bar­ras, who moved to Bristol to study graphic de­sign, and be­came one of a new crop of young artists work­ing within the city’s world-renowned street art scene. “It’s com­fort­able, and I’ve got all my stuff around me,” he con­tin­ues. “But I can get easily dis­tracted with pick­ing bits of fluff off the car­pet, so if I need to paint a lot or make a mess, or I’m go­ing stir crazy, I brave the cold and go to my studio around the cor­ner.”

Bar­ras keeps his studio as empty as pos­si­ble, so that he has noth­ing else to do there ex­cept work. He shares the space with four other de­sign­ers and il­lus­tra­tors, “It’s great there when I get into it,” he says.

He’s nor­mally sur­rounded by a lot of dif­fer­ent pens, pen­cils mark­ers and brushes (1). “I like hav­ing all this stuff around. Some­times I make marks or tex­tures, which I pho­to­graph. This process of­ten takes me to new things.” Bar­ras has owned his easel (2) for many years. It’s like an old friend, he says. “I’ve made a lot of paint­ings with it now. I may get tired, but I think it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter to paint stand­ing up.”

Like his pens and pen­cils, a stack of good water­colour pa­per

(3) can usu­ally be found in Bar­ras’ studio. He nor­mally chooses Saun­ders Water­ford hot press, cit­ing its smooth qual­ity and abil­ity to hold a lot of liq­uid as prefer­able for his work. “It’s a nice sur­face to work with and I also don’t have to over-work things, so I can just rat­tle though it,” he ex­plains.

These days, his il­lus­tra­tion projects usu­ally cross over into paint­ing, and Bar­ras is in­creas­ingly find­ing him­self pho­tograph­ing ob­jects with his SLR cam­era (4) to work into the images. “The paint­ing (5) cur­rently on my easel is record sleeve art­work for Juice Aleem, a rap­per from Birm­ing­ham, on a record la­bel called Gamma Pro­forma,” adds Bar­ras. “The al­bum is called VooduStarchild. It’s a col­lage of African fab­rics, which I’ve painted over in acrylic and oil paint.”

Will Bar­ras was a found­ing mem­ber of street art col­lec­tive Scrawl – his nar­ra­tive-driven com­po­si­tions and flow­ing line work ap­preared in Scrawl’s 1999 book. He has ex­hib­ited and per­formed live paint­ing through­out Europe, the US and Asia. www.will­bar­

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