Painter and driver-partner Clairfoster tells us about his biggest (and youngest) inspiration, his favorite days on the road, and why he continues to create in LA.
Where are you from originally?
I am born and raised in Los Angeles. My father is a pastor in South Los Angeles and my mother worked in the ministry with father.
When did you first get into art and creating?
I got the encouragement to go after it from a teacher in elementary school when I was 11. She took me and a few other students to Warner Brothers Studio to see what artists and animators do. I copied the drawings over and over and learned how to create characters.
I loved that with art I am able to have some sense of control. It’s being able to create something out of nothing. I then got into graphic design after high school. I self taught myself drawing, watched some Bob Ross shows too.
Did you start working in art right after school?
I worked for a delivery service for a few years. I left when I was commissioned to do a mural for the Center for Student Missions.
I was also a city host with them, taking groups from different states to serving organizations like churches and soup kitchens in LA. They would interact with the people they were serving, get to know them, travel around the city from rich and poor neighborhoods.
Who is the biggest inspiration for your work?
My one-year-old son is the biggest inspiration to the current work I am doing. I made blocks for him – circle, triangle, and square shapes. A lot of the work I am doing is using sthe ame color palette and shapes.
I also want to be an inspiration for my son. I learn to build structure in my life so that one day my son can build structure within himself too. I want my son to be better than I can be. I need to work hard to be the best I can be so he can even be better.
How does Uber fit into your life as an artist?
Well, it is expensive to live downtown. My wife suggested I start driving. With Uber, I am able to still do artwork. I can pick when to drive, and have a sustainable living in downtown
I come from a you have to work for it background. When I drive I am chasing money – the longer I drive more money I get. It’s super simple. I even feel Uber is my down time and not even like a job.
Any stories while on the road?
While driving I’ll actually find pieces of wood in between trips. I am using these broken pieces and putting them together to make new, whole structures.
I am also inspired by conversation while I’m driving with people in the arts and inspired by art. They show me their web sites and i’m like “oh my gosh” when I see their techniques, their skill, and the patience behind it. It inspires me to a better artist. And being a Los Angeles I am curious who is riding in the car with me. I get to hear the ups and the downs of LA.
I also really enjoy talking to folks and to learn more about other cities they are from and what it is like. It is a way to travel without having to go there.
How would you describe the art to someone you have never seen before?
Always shifting, always unfolding, always moving in different directions.
Why continue to create your work in LA?
LA is home and a melting pot of opportunity. There is always a door to walk through. It is an open range for opportunity.
I was also born in LA, so why not represent my art in LA. I want to have an impact in LA and then it can move outward.
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