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    Studio visit: Hayley Welsh, Street Artist

    HayleyWelsh-studio-visit_CreativeWomensCircle_kristen-marano

    By Kristen Marano

    Perth Street Artist Hayley Welsh works out of her home garage, but there’s nothing garage-like about it. Welsh has created a space that reflects every bit of who she is: a street artist, traveller, and family person.

    Travel trinkets—mostly American flags from her school bus project —adorn shelves; colourful patterned rugs keep out the cold, and a refinished wood grain table lines the back of the room. Welsh has neatly organized a corner of paintbrushes and paints; vintage picture frames lay stacked on the floor, and the main garage wall is covered by floor to ceiling canvas and butcher paper for Welsh to sketch and paint on.

    I met Welsh at her exhibition Hijacked, a collaboration with her partner and Photographer Andy Faraday. We recently caught up on a Friday afternoon to chat about her creative process, and how travel has influenced her work…

    Describe the process of developing Hijacked and your choice of materials.

    The whole thing was about seizing control of the situations that come to you and try to make the best out of things. It’s a belief that both Andy and I mirror in our work: try to seize what’s happening in your life.

    I guess I looked at things I had been collecting, the ones that spoke to me that I could use to portray this ‘hijacked’ message. I had a collection of articles I was going to work on; Andy had been shooting his work in film and developing it. So, before the show we sat down, and I looked at works that Andy felt like that he would be happy for me to work on. I talked about pieces that I could see something happening. We wanted to create a show that we’d like to go see: sculpture, installation, a mixture of stuff and experiences. We tried not to make it a clinical and typical gallery space and more of an experience.

    Welsh being interviewed at Hijacked, an exhibition in collaboration with Andy Faraday that fused photography and street art to illustrate messages like 'trust love and ignore fear'. Credit: Andy Faraday.

    Welsh being interviewed at Hijacked, an exhibition in collaboration with Andy Faraday that fused photography and street art to illustrate messages like 'trust love and ignore fear'. Credit: Andy Faraday.

    Describe the moment when you knew you wanted to create an exhibition about fear.

    I was kind of dissecting what I was already creating. Figuring out what was I making, and what these creatures were. I realized it was all this recurring self-doubt.

    When I held, Not You Again, which was a show about dealing with self-doubt, I read a book called, There’s Nothing Wrong With You. It was about how self-doubt and fear spreads to you from an early age. I thought it was interesting, and it explained a lot about why I feel the way I do. After reading that book I felt inspired that I wanted to explore that feeling.

    How do you use this space to create?

    I’ve been painting portraits a lot, and using this mirror to draw my reflection. My mood changes a lot in this space, and this wall can dictate the mood I’ve been in.

    I don’t come into the studio until I’m ready to paint; I never enter the studio before lunch. It’s always messy before a show. Everything is pushed to the side, and everything I want to shoot is on the floor. “I’m always jumping from my computer to paint,” Welsh says with a laugh.

    Welsh uses a mix of classical materials to sculpt and paint on found materials whether old signs, a travel globe, or creature. Credit: Kristen Marano

    Welsh uses a mix of classical materials to sculpt and paint on found materials whether old signs, a travel globe, or creature. Credit: Kristen Marano

    How has travel influenced your work?

    Travelling is such a massive part of feeling empowered and meeting new people. I find you just get richer and richer in your experiences; you broaden your mind so much more. I can’t imagine my life without having travel being a big part of it. Travel has given me the kind of confidence to keep challenging myself, and keep stepping out of the comfort zone. We create better things when we are challenged.

    That’s what I found with the school bus project a year ago. We had a show organized in New York, and we didn’t have the work for it. We decided to create the work while we were there. We bought a bus on the west coast, travelled to east coast, and I found whatever objects. I had a lot of self-doubt like what am I doing with my life? Why are we in a bus? But, I loved every second of it. All these emotions created that body of work.

    Welsh sketches one of her creatures while overlooking the Grand Canyon in Las Vegas, United States. Credit: Andy Faraday.

    Welsh sketches one of her creatures while overlooking the Grand Canyon in Las Vegas, United States. Credit: Andy Faraday.

    What’s next?

    Welsh had told me, “My dream would be a warehouse where I can relax, invoice, do admin stuff.” Maybe her dream is about to be fulfilled. Welsh and Faraday will soon host Not Another Open Studio, an invitation to join the duo in their new studio and see their new work in progress. Visit www.welshandfaraday.com to follow what they're creating.

    {Title photograph by Kristen Marano}

    Kristen Marano is a writer living in Perth, Australia. Kristen interviews women in business and writes about workplace culture. She contributes to Huffington Post Canada, and produces a weekly newsletter, Creative Women Weekly, featuring stories of creative women from around the world. Follow Kristen on Twitter @kmarano and Instagram @krismarano.

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