Will Barras came to the CMMNTY bunker and casually produced a thing of beauty on the wall. It seemed like a good time to delve a bit into the brain behind the brush.
So how did you first discover this thing you do?
I suppose like comics & records sleeves, that was your first exposure to artwork you really liked and connected with. So I guess it was that, and I never skateboarded but the graphics on the boards, I think all that stuff’s what influenced me in the start.
When did you first meet (CMMNTY Founder) David?
That was when he organised the White Canvas Project about two or three years ago. He basically got in touch with everybody and just said ‘come and stay by the river and paint in a barn for a few days’. And that sounded like a very good idea.
What is it about CMMNTY that made you want to be a part of it?
Well it’s something that’s happening anyway; it’s just an extension of what we already do I guess. There is a community of artists and a network of people, and one of the things when you do this for a living is you tend to spend a lot of time alone, but I’m fairly sociable so… Anything like this makes you feel like you're part of something, and that there are others around you, even when you're just at home on your own stressing out! (Laughs)
How do you feel about art in the commercial world?
It’s difficult isn’t it… I mean a t-shirt is like a canvas, and it’s probably the easiest way you can get a piece of work by an artist you like, I’ve always liked that about it. It’s a good thing. It’s a good way of getting art out there and sharing what you do with people. There’s been times where I’ve done record sleeves and then 10 years later someone comes up to you and it’s like, wow, they had that and it inspired them… or times I’ve been inspired, like a couple of years ago I met Slick, the guy who did the Pharcyde cover (Bizarre Ride II). That is a moment: when you saw that cover for the first time, you sort of get lost in it don’t you. I was star struck. (Laughs)
Do you think being an artist comes with a social responsibility?
Well, I suppose It’s more than a job, it’s like a compulsion in a way, and I do wind up doing things or giving paintings away and stuff like that. When you do advertising jobs, which I do, it is good to give something back in a way isn’t it? Do something good with it… I guess I do it because it makes you feel good about what you do, maybe it’s a selfish thing, but it’s good to make a difference isn’t it. With something that you just do regardless.
Quick fire round. What was your first 1st memory?
Wow. Er... probably Christmas?
What's the most amazing thing you’ve ever witnessed?
My son being born for sure.
What would be your chosen super power?
Time travel. I’d love to be able to travel back and forwards in time.
What's the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
(Laughs) Probably watching my son being born!
What's your favourite swear word?
(Uncomfortably) probably, like, you know, standard, um, you know, the F word. (Laughs).
Where do you find your creativity?
I just kind of start. I did a show at StolenSpace called Trust Your Hands and that was the idea: that you just have to sit there and just start, then it all comes out naturally from there really.
Who, throughout history, would you like to collaborate with?
I used to collaborate a lot but I struggle more with it now. I don’t know, Picasso? (Laughs) Actually Moebius, I think I’d love to try and… No, you can’t collaborate with people like that though! They’re just doing their thing aren’t they? You’d just be ruining it! (Laughs) No, it’s great really, I guess It’s a selfless thing isn’t it, and it takes you to a different place when you collaborate. I’d love to collaborate more with people who do different things, I’ve had a bit of experience with that, with people who do like music things or animation, that’s been great, you learn a lot then.
What's your biggest motivation?
I think one of the biggest motivators is the fear of losing it, you know, not being able to do it. Waking up and everything sort of… not working! (Laughs). So it’s always that thing of trying to keep going and not letting it slip through your fingers.
What does CMMNTY mean to you?
What I love about it actually is the Jams, you know in the summer, and getting together. That's the thing that's really special about it. Because those were always the things that were really magic about doing these things in the first place, and Dave's got that thing where he wants to do that still. It's that thing of everyone spending time together and making art, just doing it for the love of it. That's why I want to do stuff for CMMNTY; it's being done for all the right reasons man. It's being done for the Love.
You can keep up with Will Barras on The Internet. Stay tuned for more info on how you can get your paws on this exclusive print.