This mural on 23rd St. S., for the 2015 Shine St. Petersburg Mural festival is a bit of a departure from the typical Andrew Spear, aka Spearlife, subject matter. He says he’s motivated by music, movies and pop culture, all amply evident here in his “distinct, geometric retro style”, but more commonly reflected in his obsession for drawing women and flowing hair that has led to a client list that includes MTV, Red Bull and New Era. Spear left his Boston home in 1993 after high school to attend Ringling College in Sarasota, Florida and eventually moved permanently to Orlando in 1999 when he landed a job doing scenic work for Universal Studios. When beautiful.bizarre asked about future plans Spear said “I’ve been working on getting myself established in L.A. Been out there a lot lately, new place to sink my teeth into… . It’s all about NEW EYES on your work. What might be old to people in Orlando, may be brand new to people out West.” @spearlife @shineonstpete @scenesfromthesidewalk
I walked out of my house one day just as the light was getting nice. Nothing on the agenda, I just wanted to walk the neighborhood and shoot some pictures.
Making my way through an alley, I passed an older guy scrapping with his shopping cart. We made eyes, I gave him a nod, and he said, “Hey young man, what are you doing?”
“Just walkin’, what are you doin?”
“Ohhh just tryin’ to make a buck. You wanna walk with me?”
“Might as well, got nothin’ better to do."
He introduced himself as Old School. As we traversed the alleys up and down OSU’s campus for the next three hours, we talked about all sorts of things. He was on the street. He’d been on the street for a long time. I mentioned that I had recently gotten home from a trip to Florida.
"Whereabouts in Florida were you?”
“Boca Raton, just outside of Miami.”
“Oh I know where that is. Miami’s a good town.”
“Yessir, I was homeless there for seven years. Great place to be on the streets."
We kept walking til’ dusk and I asked if I could make his portrait. Just one, I said. Just one, he agreed.
In 2014 Ace Rubber Stamp company gave way to Little Saigon restaurant which quickly established itself as a mainstay for Vietnamese food in Orlando. Since the location on Colonial Drive is in the heart of Mills 50, a grass-roots community organization supported by The National Trust Main Street Center and committed to making the district more pedestrian friendly, the business transition provided the perfect opportunity for Red Bull—a very active supporter of the street art scene—to sponsor a new mural. With community members vying for an opportunity to have their likenesses included in the work Andrew Spear, aka Spearlife, was asked to paint the wall. Originally from Boston, Spear has drawn on his rich background in art studying at the Art Institute and the Ringling School of Art and Design, as he refined the meticulous crosshatch style that makes his figures so distinctive, and perfect for this prominent Orlando mural. @spearlife@redbull@mills50district@scenesfromthesidewalk