First off, Tell people what Inspire is and please give them a basic outline of what it aims to provide people with?
-Inspire firstly deals with custom design, We create and paint design on what people need, We also sell art products such as spraypaint, markers black books etc to provide people with the tools that they need to create, and we also teach classes in a range of art techniques such as spray painting, airbrushing, model making, clothe design, Model making and more
Setting up a business can be very challenging, particularly right now with the current financial climate.
Why did you choose to open a shop when most would perhaps have turned to e-commerce?
-Nothing beats hands on seeing and being there and producing something. In the age of digital media there needs to be a place to go to reconnect with the source and know that its real. The history of Graf states that it always rises from the ashes to bring color and creativity and to beautify when all else seems to fail.
Did you receive any funding or sponsorship to set up Inspire and if so how long did it take from the initial idea to the opening night on Saturday 27th Feb?
-I have been doing commissions & running classes for a minute Teaching people skills and techniques, basically saving and working for 18 months, People liked the idea still no money was being passed so we went all out and built the shop, and Just worked nonstop to make it happen, a lot of people once they saw it happening stated to support in bringing things for us to use like tools and paint etc
Whose artwork are you currently exhibiting?
-There are a few dedicated artists who have been part of this right now we have Matt, Rob Sample, Sowat, Sai Sai, Myseone, and a Few other artists
Who are you hoping to work with / exhibit in the future and what plans have you for the next year?
-The aim is to Invite the illest peicers to come through and rock such as System, Das, Zombie, Mode2, Wuji, Msk Crew and to continue to reach out to Artists who take Graf to a whole new level, and also to connect with some oldskool writers from back in the day such as Bruz, Mque, Neur, and more
As well as having a fairly large Gallery space, you also run a shop at Inspire, what sort of things besides artwork can people purchase?
-Spraypaint, Markers, Airbrushes, Paints, Books, Blackbooks, Original Clothing, People can also come and get T-shirts designed and painted on request and More
Although Hastings does have a thriving creative art scene (and residents include a few rather well known Graffiti arts that have all turned their hand to Street Art including Eine, Word2Mother and I-lib) it is not as large as that of neighboring Brighton? So..Why choose Hastings?
-As You mentioned Hastings has a thriving art scene of artists and writers who put in a lot of work, Hastings has a real buzz and it’s on point in a lot of areas, and it’s also up and coming in a lot of ways as well so there is a lot of room for growth and producing some world class art
You are working closely with Blakstar.org and the local councilors to provide a legal graffiti wall for the area. What are the positives of this, how is it beneficial to both local artists and residents alike and what have you to say to people who may not be convinced of the idea?
-Graff art is expression and creativity- say You got a kid stressed out id much rather that that kid goes and creates something positive with that feeling, than going and hitting someone or just getting f#*@ up, Graffiti has proved itself beyond any doubt as a world shaping art form, a voice of the voiceless, the beauty that rises from the drab and dull. Cope 2 made a good point in his book True legend where he speaks on the history of graff and that people used to rock real well developed pieces in the early days on the trains and later on the handball courts because they had time and space to do so, it was only when they tried to clamp down on this and people started getting arrested and there was no places to paint and develop that people resorted to a new style of hit and run with more simple lines and technique. So it’s a must that writers fight for their right to paint!.
We know from the workshops we provide around the East Sussex area that there are plenty of Young People who are interested in Graffiti and street art – the very type of people who would benefit from a legal, designated graffiti area. In what ways could Inspire help them further? What can they gain from visiting Inspire?
-We all learn from each other, My best times were spent with other artists practicing styles, getting up in blackbooks, painting, Traveling to see the illest pieces, Listening to music, just being surrounded by the art made Me want to improve, We are always looking for new ways to assist up and coming artists in whatever area they choose and display skills, whether that’s a place to practice, See some work, ask questions,
What about those who are perhaps a little older and have never really seen the Art in Graffiti/ Street art? Are they welcome at your shop and is there a message you’d like to send out to them?
-Everyone is welcome as long as they have a open mind, Art is like that something someone didn’t see yesterday, in the right environment they may see it in a whole new way today, still this isn’t about trying to convince anybody with all due respect the art form speaks for itself and there’s people all over supporting this art form and many creating some great work
On a more personal level, who are the people behind Inspire and what is your personal connection to the work you create and the scene you’re helping to develop?
-There’s a lot of people too much to name who have come through and showed support, and put their time, resource and Energy into this, to name a few Rob Sample, Fish, Sai Sai and Ivan have been going hard and making this a reality, also Chrome and Black and HQ have went all out to support Inspire in a big way, I send a BIG shout out to everyone who has shown support seen and unseen.
I’ve been writing Spen rock for over 20 years since the Crush Proof dayz, Growing up in NYC and seeing arwork by, Myseone, Ghost, Lady Pink, Futura, Veefer, Vulcan, Trap, Nak and Flame among many more I witnessed the full blown art form Trains Handball courts, Clothing and Music in its day and it wasn’t long before I started getting busy Myself, My specialty was rooftops as I used to thrive of the stealth, Planning and having time to produce skilled work. I love how the skills have gone to a whole new level, what Graff artists are doing Nowadays is Mind blowing, Razor sharp, off the hook it can only get better.
And What Inspires Inspire?
-Being able to assist artists
What are the best things to have happened since opening Inspire?
-Bringing people together has been amazing, watching responses, being part of a positive move, doing what I love to do.
What have been the negatives? have there been any?
-..always negatives in starting a Biz still when You do what You love You just take the negatives as challenges and go through, Over or around them that’s all
Finally, Any shout-outs?
-Shout Out to all Graff Writers World Wide, To All Artists who never gave up, and who don’t live propped up on their last work but who are creating in the now.
A Shout Out to All Breakdancers & Dancers, Dj’s and Mc’s, Film Producers and Directors that are capturing the essence of what it really is, Shout out to all My People in Hastings, London, Birmingham, Bristol, Toronto and NYC
A Shout Out to Every One Who Put ideas, Work, Time, Resource and Energy to make this come True.
A Big Shout Out to www.blakstar.org this interview and everything else that is being done.
Inspire artwork can be found at 34 Robertson Street, Hastings. TN34 1HT and is open:
To contact Inspire with any enquiries, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check them on the web at
http://www.inspirehastings.com (coming soon)