Meagan Spendlove

December 18, 2014 at 8:44 am
  1. Neighborhood Love: What neighborhood did you grow up in and what neighborhood do you live in and represent now?
Meagan Spendlove:
I remember my Father’s house the most. Which was in Buena Park near my Grandparent’s home in La Mirada. The most consistent place I could easily say, regarding memories. There was a move with my Mom to Seattle where we lived for a decade. Followed by Phoenix until 2006. Then Los Angeles for several years on my own. Which was something I just needed to do; and was an interesting experience for sure. In 2008 I moved to the Bay Area, my favorite place so far. Treasure Island and then San Francisco until I decided to move to Oakland in 2013. If you consider the fact that I have travelled to and painted in over 80 cities around the world – it gets complicated to answer that question sometimes. For awhile I would just say “planet earth” when people would ask me where I was from. If anything just to spare them the laundry list of locations; that I feel influenced by, or that they could possibly relate to. Not everyone has the kind of sense of humor I do though…

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2 .I always ask the artist if their neighborhood had a hand in the sculpting their artwork, but because your work is so folky I definitely feel your neighborhood did. how do you see your environment playing a part in your artwork?

​This is the first time I have lived in a “community”. Something different. In Phoenix we had friends that lived within a similar area. Carved out our own stomping grounds so to speak. As my daughter and I walk to school each morning. Then again as we walk home each day after classes. We see and converse with familiar faces along the way. Students I teach during an after school program. Whom I have known for several years. The ages range from Kindergarten to High School. Some of the kids went to preschool with my daughter. It has been an incredible experience to watch them grow up. We run into each other everywhere just walking or hanging out on the porch, doing sidewalk chalk – etc. There are also a lot of cats that I used to know from growing up with graffiti that have moved to the area lately. Others who have lived here for a long time that I used to visit while in town. Due to all of this inner connectivity and there is a real sense of awareness in the area. A lot of energy which depending on your own mood can create different motives for creating artwork. I find that I need more time alone with my paintings or murals these days. In order to process a lot of what I experience and take on as a teacher. ​In the past perhaps when I was ernest to share a vision it was about producing as a team. I have so much surrounding me that speaks out and in turn commences me to mentor to the all levels of ability at times. My artwork carries each story I hear or thing I see that Im not sure I have the power at times to change by any other means. Any other way but to channel it somehow through the tools I have. Our hearts, minds, eyes and hands in order to communicate how we feel somehow while working so hard to survive, provide and flow.
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3. I’ve seen your work grow the past few years quite a bit, what do you think the driving forces are behind that?

I appreciate that. There was a sense before as if I felt more dedicated than I do now. Perhaps due to what I was referencing to in the last answer. That I feel when I do while teaching and my experiences with the students even while not on the clock. Its become a part of me, basically. I can see my own evolution or progress if I rifle through the archives sometimes. I have boxes, stacks of containers in my closets. Of work that I have only let several people see. Most honestly because a lot of the time I can be hard on myself when it comes to my own portfolio. I am really happy to be drawing frequently again, like I used to. I missed that part of my spirit immensely du​ring several years of major mural projects. Being a parent – on the grind, pushes me to keep up with perspective. The fact that I actually have a studio now is truly something. After nearly a decade of working in kitchens or living room set ups.


4. How would you describe your style of ​art​work?

​Some sort of modern Art Nouveau. Although Art Deco ​really speaks to me at times. Im a “work in progress”. The influences I felt when I was younger which compelled me to create are basically the same. Mode 2, Mucha. Yet I’ve explored and expanded – if that makes sense. In my early 20’s I was focused on producing work that was clean and sharp. When I became aware of the fact that I might be able to actually do what I love for a living. I had people surrounding me at that time who were inspiring, motivated and encouraging. The colors I used switched up from dark to bright when I relocated to the desert. The friends and crew I painted with in the SW taught me a lot about the history and fundamentals of Graffiti. They believed in tough love. Some still do. Getting your bearings and respecting the rules. Each one of the guys in NG painted in a completely different style. Yet there was an understanding there and sense of trust.

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5. What are  some of your favorite projects are that you have done over the years? ​What do you think you’re most proud of?

​A couple of years ago I was contacted by a woman in San Francisco about a mural project. She was interested in hiring me to paint the front wall of her house in the Mission District. She has the same name as I do, spelled differently. ​She had travelled the world as a marine biologist and had recently gotten married. I worked on the mural for her while she battled breast cancer. I am more to pleased to say that she beat it and is a true kindred spirit. ​I was grateful to paint the front of Flax Art & Design ​a couple years ago. The business was celebrating 75 years of business in San Francisco. They asked me to create a small mural on the store front below their iconic sign. I was elated.

6. What are some your favorite neighborhood shops or places to eat where you live now,that you feel other people should know about?

​There is an amazing vegan restaurant called Shang Ri La; where Id eat every night if I could afford to. A patio covered with bogenvelia with a mural on the side by a local artist. The food is beyond good for every part of you. I always leave feeling replenished and thankful. The neighborhood I live in is called the fellowship of Long Fellow. Near Ghost Town and Temescal. On the border of Oakland and Emeryville. An area that is undergroing much chamge. National Geographc just did an article on graffiti in Oakland. Which had some agreeable things to say while other opinions felt totally off base. Most of the real places I would take a friend to while hosting are pretty nondescript. Due to them being businesses that cater to a specific skill or trade. Something particular pertaining to their nature. A lot of roll down store fronts or interesting work/live set ups. There is an older woman who sellls herbs and tea out of a classic mobile home. Mail trucks get painted and converted into delivers services. People ride share almost as much as people ride bikes. Pixar is two blocks away and serves as sort of willy wonkas chocolate facotiry amidst mom and pops, start ups and rapidly growing retail chain stores. There is really everything we need in a small section of this area due to the city limits requiring citizens to have ammentities within the district. Even if the section itself which sits between two seperate cities, is only 1.7 miles in radius. The marina in all three are just as beautiful as the next and a place to go in order to have a great view of SF and the waterfront. Little establishments are suggestive. Not to many start ups prefer to set a flashy tone for more than one reason here. Its very blue collar yet at the same time is an expanding area with new vibes flowing in and out on the regular.  I still go to the city on a weekly basis and can easily say, that I have never been bored living in the Bay.

7. What’s a dream project for you? Like if you could pick the next thing that you have always wanted to do?

One of my dreams for a while now has been to run a printing press and a little library. A Creative Resource Center. ​
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8. Who are some of the artist​’s that ​you admire that are doing things out there?

​I really love the work James Jean creates. The murals by Tristan Eaton are amazing!​ There are so many outstanding artists and so many ways to view their work these days. It’s an incredible time we live in.

9. Can you tell Neighborhood love about some of your projects or things you like to put some shine on?

​Im excited about a project being held next Spring. I’m curating my first show in Oakland during the first two weeks of March, 2015. ​
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10. Would like to say thank you for taking the time to chop it up with! last, any shout outs to anyone out there that you would like to give? thank you from all of us at Neighborhood-love.com!

​Thank you very much Else, for reaching out and providing the opportunity to speak about my work. Much respect to one of my best friends and a fellow rail fan Strut, NG. ​Plus other crew mates such as Pez (LIES) and Kaper (Boxstars). A major inspiration through out the years would be Fear, UTI.