Stanley is a self-taught artist from Northern Ireland who is always aiming to improve and evolve. Working predominantly with hand cut stencils & spray paint on a variety of surfaces from walls to canvas to old lps, broken skateboards , palettes, grip tape, guitars, tote bags. Loves drawing and is an apprentice tattooer who has also designed & released several limited edition runs of t-shirts, hoodies & beanies for black hearted clothing which he founded and co owns.
Bit of background and how you got into art.
I have no formal art training at all; I’ve always enjoyed drawing but kept it to myself. About five years ago after watching a certain documentary I tried cutting a stencil. It turned out ok and when I posted it online someone else asked could they have one done and it’s kind of just grown organically from there.
Influences on your work
I have a lot of different influences ,on a personal level my next door neighbour who babysat me as a kid was a watercolour artist , my dad and my brother are both very talented artists . I’ve always been into my music so album artwork is probably one of my earliest influences I’m a big fan of RAYMOND PETTIBON who did black flags artwork and the cover to sonic youths ‘goo ‘he works predominantly in black n white (a preference that I share).
I love r. crumbs artwork too in particular the ways he’s not afraid to get personal , exorcizing his own demons and shortcomings in his work again something I find relatable and therapeutic to an extent.
What do other artists say about your work?
My friend Sarah Simpson (Sindigo Sindigo) who passed away last year once said ‘Stanley Sprays is a skilfully sharp artist from Norn Ireland with an eye for beautiful bold images’ I think that sums me up pretty succinctly.
Tell me about what you have coming up this year
I’m going to be painting my first shop front after upfest which I am looking forward to doing. Aside from my Stanley sprays work I helped set up and co-run @blackheartedclothingco with my friend (www.blackheartedclothing.co.uk) and am focussing my attention on this lately am involved in pretty much every stage from design to delivery. To date we’ve released several t shirts hoodies raglans, slaps and beanies.
What is important to you about your art?
Simply, that I stay true to myself and keep making it and do every piece justice. I try not to compare myself to others like I see people doing like 15 layer photorealistic stencils although I can respect the hours of cutting etc. that goes into a piece like that it’s not a direction id want to go in myself .personally I think other stencil artists see increasing the number of layers as progression whereas in my mind a stencil should look like a stencil if I can create a striking image using (usually) one or two colours that’s more of a challenge to me.
I’m selling two different prints at the festival the first one is a grenade design that id originally cut n sprayed on a sheet of grip tape for the local skate shop (rip true grip) . the other piece is a heart shaped bird murmuration it was an idea I had several years ago did a run of tote bags with it on it then completely reworked it all the birds silhouettes were all traced by hand from reference photos. I wish I had better stories behind them but they pretty much represent my occasional abrasive, explosive side and my usual chill (slightly more mature) loving side (lol).
This will be my first festival so everything’s new to me, hopefully it’ll maybe open some doors and I can make some contacts and look at other festivals, exhibitions etc. In the forthcoming year.
Where people can find you at Upfest
I will be painting a board at St Francis church
Can you tell me something about what you will be doing?
I don’t want to say too much about it but my piece relates to invisible illness it’ll be created using a stencil and hand finished with poscas.
What are you looking forward to about Upfest?
Looking forward to painting, seeing what other people are painting, catching up with old friends & making some new ones & just soaking up the atmosphere should be a great weekend.
See Stanley Sprays’s work at South Street Park
Upfest Saturday 29, Sunday 30 Monday 31 July 2017