“The uncontrived honesty of Spar Street’s art speaks volumes. If you want to know what the authentic flame of creativity looks like in fine art, this is it!” - Mike Greene, former President of the GRAMMY foundation.
While many artists are powered by their personal ambitions, Spar Street has made it his life’s mission to create art that inspires others to achieve greatness by living our purpose. Over the last three decades, his paintings and sculptures have captured international acclaim and a celebrity clientele that includes David Foster, Jewel, Kenny Loggins, Mick Fleetwood, Natalie Cole, John Denver and many others. Street has also served as an official artist for the GRAMMY foundation, The United Nations and The Nobel Foundation. His work is also in the private collections of many other esteemed patrons that include heads of state, religious leaders, major international corporations, authors and other high profile clients such as Sir Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Andre Agassi, Wayne Gretzky and Richard Gere.
Today, Street spreads his time between his family and studio in Hawaii and keeping a busy travel schedule with continuous shows in cities around the world. From Art Basel in Miami to the Avant Gallery in Dubai, Street’s next stop is in Colorado with two highly anticipated President’s Day Exhibitions in Aspen and Vail. AXS had the rare opportunity to catch up with the celebrated artist and find out more about the heart behind his art.
“Art basically saved my life,” Street begins. “My parents got divorced when I was really young and I didn’t do well at school, so art became a nurturing place for me to escape my disturbing childhood. The fact that I was good at it also helped me to gain an important sense of value as a kid,” he adds. But by the age of 25, Street had put art to the wayside and found success in pretty much every other area of his life. A successful investment banker at the top of his field, a world ranked champion freestyle skier and a philanthropic entrepreneur who had raised millions of dollars for several environmental and social causes. Yet still, he wasn’t fulfilled.
“I quickly realized the American dream was for someone else, not me,” Street explains. “Then one day a friend asked me two questions that changed my life. ‘If you could do anything with your life, what would you do?’ I told him that aside from windsurfing and skiing, I would be a full-time painter and sculptor. ‘Then why aren’t you doing it?’ he asked. Everything suddenly became very clear to me and I pretty much quit everything I was doing to dedicate my life to making art.”
From the vibrant colors of his abstract paintings to the definitive shapes and high-tech sheen of his sculptures, Street’s awe-inspiring works are distinguished by something even beyond their stunning beauty. It’s what he describes as a divine presence he experiences during the process of creating each piece and it’s this powerful life force that overcomes the viewer’s experience as well.
“My personal process is to stay connected to the great power and quiet presence of love, beauty, and goodness in all of us. When I paint and sculpt, I allow this connection to flow through me and it’s as though the living presence is painting and sculpting through me. When audiences and collectors tell me they experience that same presence from my work, I feel that I’ve fulfilled my true purpose as an artist.”
Street says that music has also played a huge role in his life and he was thrilled when the late John Denver became his first celebrity client commissioning him to do a painting for his home. Denver was so moved by Street’s work that he wrote him a personal letter thanking him for creating a painting that “made the entire room feel like an extension of his soul.” Word quickly spread and Street suddenly found himself being commissioned to create inspiring works for some of the greatest music legends of our time. Then Street got the ultimate honor of being chosen as the official artist for the GRAMMY foundation, and he held his position for several years before another golden opportunity came knocking.
“Around 2001, the president of the GRAMMY foundation introduced me to Michael Nobel,” Street reveals. “The next thing I knew they were asking me if I could create a sculpture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize.” To create the world’s official emblem that would both embody and honor those who have truly dedicated themselves to achieving greatness for all of mankind - was completely in sync with Street’s mission an artist. His sculpture, The Heart of Peace, remains one of Street’s most iconic works to this day and it was also recently adopted by Claes Nobel's World Peace One organization as its core icon.
In September 2016, Street also saw another one of his sculptures, The Agent of Change, become the world symbol for honoring recipients of The Agent of Change Award, created by UN Women and the Global Partnerships Forum. He explains that the sculpture came to him as a vision that woke him up from his sleep eight years ago and it was so vivid that he got out of bed to draw pictures of it and write about how it could be used as a vehicle to honor those who were making a difference in the world. After spending the next seven years bringing the sculpture to life and reworking it to perfection, he was invited to the offices of UN Women where they asked if it could be used as their official award.
Street attended the ceremony in September to see his sculpture being awarded to the first three recipients of The Agent of Change Award and he says it was one of the most rewarding and heartfelt moments of his career.
“It was an honor to see my art become a tangible embodiment of meaningful engagement, openness and trust, passion and compassion. The Agent of Change Award honors the mission of people who haven’t lost focus on what matters, and that is my mission and message as an artist.”
Spar Street will be in Colorado attending the President’s Day exhibitions in both Vail and Aspen February 17, 18, 19 and 20, 2017. The opening reception is on Sunday, February 19th from 3-7pm at Galerie Zuger.
On April 15th, 2017, his sculptures will then be on display at the Masters Gallery in Denver.