Culture is his inspiration, art his mojo, living a full life his motto. Clayton Barr spoke with Salvador Bali. Photography by Anthony Dodds.
IT’S your canvas. I’m Clayton Barr, 44, from Central Coast, Australia. Married with two kids.
Early days? High school, trade school. I survived by doing little flick-book animations and things like that.
When did you realise you had a passion for the art world? Young, forever, high school, it all clicked around the age of 14 when I met some people who, to me, were a very colourful tribe, and I kind of warmed up to their look and everything …
So we’re talking 30 years you’ve been doing art? Yeah. I went to the beach and saw all the creativity around that world, sprays on the surfboards, T-shirts and the like, and I just lived in that vein.
When did you actually become a professional artist? In Australia, when I was a teenager – graphic design in the corporate and advertising worlds.
Do you do other art besides the surf-based genre? I do, but the nice stuff always comes back to surfing. I draw and dream around surfing. I’m doing more and more, however, these days … it’s starting to happen.
Where has your art taken you? Many great places. Bali, California, Brazil…
And all you had to do was carry your brush … Pretty much.
When did you first come to Bali? I actually went to West Java in 1999 on a boat trip and the first destination was Jakarta … came to Bali after that.
When did you decide to live here? Slowly, see-sawed my existence here, two weeks on, go back home, but I always made a promise to myself that I would come back every year. Then, one day, I asked for a job from a guy named Bruce at Quiksilver, and he gave me a ticket to Bali. There’s a guy named Steve Palmer here too, and so it began.
Did you ever think things would develop the way they have? No man … it’s pretty outrageous…
What is your philosophy? I have a book on Darwin that’s keeping me calm in traffic … it’s all about do the work and let it go. Then there’s Andy Warhol who said: “Do the work and let others decide”. Don’t worry, do the best you can do, and that’s it.