Interview with Artist Spar Street
What inspired your philosophies about art and your zeal for creating art?
I was born into the home of an irrepressibly creative artist, my mother, who to this day can create more art on a daily basis than any other person I have ever met. My entire childhood was an immersion in a world of fine art that few children get to experience. I saw how art was a form of play, a form of communication, a form of exploration, a way dreaming dreams and healing pain, and a means for expressing love, caring and value.
I had dyslexia so severely that I could not read until the fifth grade. I was years behind my peers, which provided an ideal environment to develop nasty self-concepts like “I am stupid,” “I am not good enough,” “I will never fit in,” “I am not lovable.” I remember a doctor told my mother not to expect much from me in life. He had categorized me as “retarded,” in his “expert” opinion. I was teased and bullied. I was the slow kid, the sensitive kid, the kid that would react or explode when coerced.
I lived in two worlds. In school, I was filled with frustration, anger and rage. I was over-sensitive and fought often with teachers and other kids. I had hating-the-world problems, on top of my reading and writing problems. But I had another world: my world of creating artwork, where I was free to fly, to shine, to be who I was without the heaviness of my stories about how I would be more lovable and accepted if I was just more like the other kids.
Art gave me a vehicle to dream about the possible triumph and glory that life could be. It was a welcome reprieve from the internal and external hell I was living in. I knew I was free and happy when I was creating art. Knowing that, and holding onto that, changed my life. That insight is still leading me through a lifetime of watching, exploring and appreciating the extent to which art—when it comes from a truly inspired place—sets people free. It not only set me free from the inner torment I was living with, but it also uplifted and inspired so many of the people around me who saw what I was creating.
I have come to see that we all have a calling—a unique expression of goodness, truth and beauty that we must awaken and share in order to make life a truly rich and fulfilling experience. When we are tuned into that, we light up like a
Christmas tree, and that illumination lights up everyone we make contact with. I have subsequently learned the that creation of intentionally focused artworks dedicated to the triumph we experience when we are dialed into our passion and purpose helps other people get connected and stay connected to their own calling. These artworks keep fresh the power and clarity of living from the wholehearted passion of their pure resolve.
In stark contrast, we see the fine art world as it currently exists placing a high premium on shock, dissatisfaction and disconnection instead of the kind of well-being I’m talking about here. For decades, I’ve been friends with Eckhart Tolle and other very well-known spiritual teachers, and I know that when human life is not wholeheartedly focused on joy and connection, it is an exercise in complaining which leads only to various levels of suffering and misery. Some of us are waking up to the unconditional bliss of being, and some of us are treading water in drama. It’s nothing more than a choice in the ever-present moment, and it’s my artistic mission to inspire the world to value the only thing that truly satisfies: love.
In the times we are living in now, I do not think there is anything more valuable than having as many people as possible open their hearts as wide as possible to tap into the higher calling that life wants for them. Being tapped in is profoundly life-enhancing, but the process requires courage, resilience and a willingness to continually find that place within that cares deeply when the going gets tough. For those who are courageous enough to embrace it—and not turn away when the heat gets turned up—life becomes extraordinarily good. And that good is good for the dignified survival of humankind.
Do you see a connection between art and healing? If so, then how would you advise art buyers when selecting art that soulfully connects vs. strictly liking it and/or for investment?
Art is always a form of healing for me, and the artworks I create for others are teeming with the energy of healing intent. The greatest healers are those see beyond the limitations and wounds we believe to be real. They hold the frequency of what I call “the miracle,” the full blown expression of vitality, well-being and freedom, while they lovingly touch the parts of us that are in pain. They are the best of friends. They hold the best of intentions for us. My artworks are healers and friends from my perspective. And if you read the letters, emails and texts I receive every month, it is obvious that my collectors experience them in the same way.
Our lives are made rich by the investments we make that give us great returns. Every artwork we surround ourselves with takes us to the place of its origin—the consciousness the artist was in when he was creating it and the intention behind the creation of the artwork. That energy is a guest in your house, and like all guests, they either add to your aliveness and passion for life and leave you feeling filled with gratitude and appreciation, or they just seem to hang around and steal your energy.
From a financial investment perspective, collectors of my work have watched the dollar value of my work increase significantly over time, and I believe—given the number of things my career is undergoing now—it will continue to increase in value monetarily. So obviously it is not an either/or kind of a thing. You can have great returns in all areas, and the more people wake up to the realization that they want to be truly happy, the more creations like mine will be in demand.
Get to know the artists whose work you decide to have in your home. Are they the kind of person who would uplift and inspire you? If you want to be happy and truly connected to your own love, passion and purpose, look into their eyes and their lives and ask yourself, “Are they alive with the aliveness and vitality I want within my heart and home?”
It may take a little more time, but like any great relationship, it pays off to get to know the core values, intentions and heart and soul of the being that you will be living with.
Who are your ideal patrons?
My ideal collectors are very similar to my existing collectors. I wake up in the morning inspired to help people live richly fulfilling lives, to renew and reinvigorate their soul and spirit with intentional fine artworks. My collectors are a unique group of people—spiritual teachers, business icons, inspiring international organizations, musicians and others—who are already delivering their gifts at the top of their fields. Eckhart Tolle, Sir Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Dame Jane Goodall, Kenny Loggins, Wayne Gretzky, David Foster, Jewel, UN Women, etc. These are the people I most love working with; people who inspire us all.
One of the ways I look at an art collection is like having a team of people working for you. If they all compliment, empower and forward the same goals, things work out extraordinarily well. If they don’t, different results occur. My ideal patrons see this and choose to surround themselves with a series of complimentary and empowering artworks that help them feel the way they most want to feel and be who they most want to be. There are ideal environments for growing everything. I want collectors who are excited about growing their lives around core values like love, passion and purpose.
“Presence is the quality that brings power, joy and inner radiance into your experience. An artwork created from presence lifts you out of the mind’s obsession with ‘me’ and ‘my problems’ into the center of awareness, which is power and radiance. Presence is what people recognize within themselves when they look at famous paintings or sculpture. The artist was in a transcendent state while creating artwork and everyone feels that transcendence when they look at the art. Your works come from this place. They take us into the stillness, which is power, which is love.” – Eckhart Tolle
On the larger scale, I am working with Claes Nobel and The United Nations on projects that will give people the courage to explore peaceful, respectful and responsible ways of working together as an alternative to the atrocious violence that is so prevalent in homes, schools, communities and countries around the world. We will erect monumental sculptures, 30 to 650 feet tall, in cities around the world to act as huge, impossible-to-ignore, eternal declarations about moral and ethical humanitarian values. In that initiative, we are welcoming partnerships and patrons, individuals and organizations, looking to leave a global legacy of peace and love, nobility and respect for our children and our children’s children.
Do you have any formal art training or are you self-taught? How has your background in art training or self-teaching influenced your style and techniques?
I’ve studied art at The Chicago Institute of Art and at Emily Carr College, arguably the most important art college in Canada, but I consider myself to be primarily self-taught. I learned so many techniques that are valuable from a technical perspective, but they are all in service of evoking rich emotional and spiritual experiences. I can paint a face and have it be visually, technically accurate, but my passion is in the thing that comes more from falling in love with the deep connection we can have with people, life and this magnificent world we are blessed to live in. This is the domain in which my art lives. It’s indescribable and unteachable from a certain perspective, but palpable.
Before you begin to create, what do you do to mentally prepare? Is meditation a part of your creative process?
I don’t prepare myself in any formal way. My creative experience is a calming, then a cessation, of the voices of the mental realm. It is an opening into a quietude more still than silence. I experience it as a realm of heightened senses, awareness aware of itself as infinite, blissful beingness.
There is a spontaneous experience of presence which makes itself known when I approach a work of art. When I walk into my studio, I feel my heart open. I see my works in progress as close friends I’m delighted to see again, to be able to spend time with. I have a relationship with them. Working with them, I feel as though I am enveloped in a power—a connection and an intimacy with something greater than myself. I step into their world and let them take over. They give me direction. I follow. It may sound strange, but they talk to me in a way. They show me where to go. As long as I’m in this flow state, things flow. When it’s not flowing, then I step away for a time.
Having studied meditation in various forms for more than four decades, I would have to say it is the kind of meditation that is about complete surrender and allowing everything to be as it is, and not meditation as mental concentration.
What do you wish people knew about your artwork?
I create my art with the intention to remind people of what’s most important in life: to live wholeheartedly in love, joy and connection. I enjoy that quality of being while creating the artworks, and my collectors feel it when they view them. I’ve seen it time and time again over more than five decades of creating art. If it is created from the right place, art brings out the very best in people.
I want people to feel as good, as vital and as alive as they can possibly feel, and I pour that heartfelt desire into every artwork I create. I know that people are affected physically, emotionally and spiritually by objects of art in their environment. I receive texts, letters and calls all the time. I have also read the many scientific studies on the impact of art on the immune system, on productivity, on happiness, on relationships and on businesses. We are measurably and palpably changed by art.
What is your ultimate goal in achieving your life’s purpose with your work?
We are all integral parts of The Great Work, but we each have to wake up and recognize that nothing other than bringing our whole heart to this Work is really satisfying and fulfilling. There is a dignity, an integrity and a nobility about taking our place—about looking inside and finding that place of pure resolve and living from that. The more people I touch with the sense of how good life feels when they are connected to that, the safer and happier I will leave this world for my wife, my daughter, my friends and all the people who will live beyond me.
My life’s work is to make that feeling as big as possible, make it as unforgettable as possible, and make it as attractive as possible, so that people everywhere cannot ignore or forget that love makes life richer and more beautiful than anything else on Earth.
For more information on Spar Street and his work, visit http://www.sparstreet.com/