Interview: Street Artist Ears

We are lucky to be surrounded by so many talented street artists in the Inner West and it was Ears that originally got me completely hooked on street art. So imagine my excitement when he agreed to an interview! I remember being blown away when I drove by a collaborative piece Ears did on Addison Road in Marrickville a couple of years ago. I almost gave myself whiplash as I drove by, I quickly parked the car, walked back and just stared at the wall, to the amusement of many passers by.

Sadly, this is all that remains of the work. But I guess that is the nature of street art. Blink and you’ll miss it. The fact that is it is constantly changing and evolving  is why I love photographing street art.

Huge thanks to Ears for taking to the time to answer my questions. I can’t wait for the next open day at Higher Ground Studio and I am looking forward to checking out his work at the Outpost Project on Cockatoo Island this weekend.

How long have you been doing street art and how did you initially get started?
I’ve been painting on walls since I was a teenager.. got more serious about it in 2007 when I went to art school.

Where did the name Ears come from?
A love of music and listening.

How would you describe your street art identity and style?
I work with spray paint to create a charcoal like line, and fuse some illustrative ideas with more traditional painting techniques.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Other artists, music, photography…

How do you pick a location for an Ears street art piece? Is it usually planned or spur of the moment?
Either or. If a space feels like its already interesting in its aesthetic and sense of history/decay then I usually like to work in with that.

If you could do a collaborative piece of street art with anyone of your choice … Who would it be? Why?
Os Gemeos or Ethos, those guys are crazy imaginative.

Do you usually work by yourself on the street or with other street artists?
Both, I preffer collaborative murals but I havent found that many guys willing to stretch themselves to collaborate, thats why I like working with Max. We are both happy to give in to the compromise of collaboration and meet in the middle.

What is your favourite Ears design that you have done on the street?
Not sure,.. was pretty happy with a recent wall I did in Melbourne on the side of the Biba Academy in Fitzroy.  It could be the best one so far I reckon.

Who is your favourite street artist (local or international)?
Probably the Os Gemeos twins or Barry Mcgee.  But I dont know there are too many amazing people out there to pick really.

I have seen your work outside the Crumpler Store on King Street, Newtown several times and one of your works is currently there. Who decides what artist’s work is going to do a piece there? Are the works kept or do you go over the top of the last design?
I used to organise that space, but the guy who works in the shop has sort of taken over… it’s just a fun little space to paint as it gets great exposure. I was the first one to approach them and paint it, and then we used to get it done every couple of months, the panels are just painted over… not kept. I think the goal now is to paint it monthly.

Where can someone buy your work?  Do you do commission work? How can someone contact you if they want an original Ears design?
Either from my studio or through my site/ email. or or by going to Harrison Galleries and checking out their stock room.

How did Higher Ground Studio come about?
I have been in that space for 2 years, and I started inviting friends and other like minded artists to join about a year ago.. The guys from Look Print are housing us and supporting street art. (Hats off to Look!)

When I went to the Higher Ground Studio open day I saw some of your artwork which I thought was different to your street style. Are they two completely different things to you, or do the two styles overlap?
I would say they overlap, but some of my canvas works are getting pretty far away from illustration I guess. So maybe less so these days.

The Outpost Project on Cockatoo Island starts in November and has been getting a lot of press coverage. I am really looking forward to it and I have seen your name on the website as a participant. What will you be doing on Cockatoo Island as part of the Project?
I have painted a panel for the dog leg tunnel, and have curated a billboard exhibition called ‘Project Ugly‘.

And finally…Inner west questions

Best place for a caffeine hit in the Inner West?
Not telling, otherwise it will get all busy and I’ll have to find a new one.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in the Inner West?
Had an amazing feed at Rubyos.

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